AFTE’s Weekly Legal Bulletin (30 April: 7 May 2023) | The uncle of the potential presidential candidate Ahmed El-Tantawy detained, and the detention of 8 defendants renewed

Date : Monday, 8 May, 2023
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Supreme State Security Prosecution

 

On the 2nd of May, The Supreme State Security Prosecution renewed the detention of Ahmed Ma’amon Shaker Abou El-Rous and Ali Othman, who were arrested from Cairo International Stadium after Al-Ahli football club match,  for 15 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 508 of 2023 (Supreme State Security).

 

Both of them were arrested on April 5, Nasr City Prosecution accused them of rioting and assaulting the security forces and two days later, the Prosecution decided to release them, however; they were referred for interrogations before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which accused them of 

joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its aims, committing the crime of financing a terrorist group, spreading false news and statements that would harm public security and order, and using an account on social media to spread false news and information for a terrorist purpose.

 

On May 4, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to detain Mohamed Sayed Abdel Qader, the uncle of the potential presidential candidate Ahmed El-Tantawy, for 15 days pending investigations of case No. 2397 of 2021 (Supreme State Security). 

Al-Tantawy’s uncle and a number of his friends and supporters were also arrested on the date that El-Tantawy had previously announced that he’d come back to Egypt and participate in the political life approaches. 

 

Security forces arrested Abdel Qader on Tuesday, the 2nd of May, from his house despite him being elderly and suffering from several serious health problems, such as having three liver cancer foci in the liver, which he underwent previous operations, and chronic inflammation of the stomach and nerves, in addition to polio in his right hand. 

 

The prosecution investigated Abdel Qader regarding several documents allegedly seized from his house of 70 publications inciting demonstrations because it says, “prepare for Ahmed El-Tantawy’s return in Egypt, if it is not with goodness it’ll be with force,” 20 fireworks. Abdel Qader denied his ownership of the seized objects. He was accused of joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its aims, committing the crime of financing a terrorist group by funding it to carry out its purposes, and Possessing explosives before obtaining a permit.

 

Criminal Courts

The 2nd of May hearings: 

 

Cairo Criminal Court (Third Circuit) renewed Ahmed Abdul Magid Oraby’s detention for 45 days, pending investigations of case No. 2094 of 2022 (State Security).

 

The security forces arrested Oraby in November after sharing 15 posts on Facebook discussing his political views and opinions on the domestic economy. Oraby faces accusations of joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its aims, committing the crime of financing terrorism, inciting to commit a terrorist crime, participating in the criminal agreement to commit a terrorist crime, spreading false news and information, and using an account on the Internet to commit a terrorist crime.

 

Cairo Criminal Court (Second Circuit) renewed Mohamed Mahfouz Abdul Latif’s detention for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 2000 of 2021 (Supreme State Security).

Abdul Latif has been detained since August 2021, against the background of his support for the Zamalek club. He faces accusations of joining a terrorist group (Ultras White Knights), publishing false news and information, and using social media to spread false information.

 

In a similar context, the Criminal Court (Third Circuit) renewed the detention of poet Jalal Al-Behairi, who’s been detained since March 2018 for writing the lyrics of Balaha song, for 45 days, pending the investigations of his third lawsuit No. 2000 of 2021. 

 

Al-Behairi was convicted in this lawsuit after he was convicted in two others; in the first one, he got released and served a 3-year prison sentence in the second. He faces charges of joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its purposes and spreading and broadcasting false news and statements that would harm public security.

 

The Criminal Court (Third Circuit) renewed the detention of Mohamed Abou Eldahab  who works at a shoe factory, along with Ahmed Abou ElSoud, who works at a garage, for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 2094 of 2022 (Supreme State Security).

 

Both of them were arrested in Alexandria on November 10; they were interrogated before the Prosecution after 5 days and were accused of joining a terrorist group, committing the crime of financing terrorism, using social media to promote a terrorist act, participating in a criminal agreement to commit a terrorist crime (demonstrations), inciting to commit a terrorist crime (demonstrations), and spreading false news and statements.

On the 6th of May, the Criminal Court (First Circuit) renewed the detention of pensioner Salah Elsayed Elqadi for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 1691 of 2022 (Supreme State Security Prosecution).

It should be noted that Elqadi is a retired employee and was arrested in October from his house. He faces accusations of joining a terrorist group, committing a terrorist financing crime, using a social media account to promote a terrorist act, participating in a criminal agreement intended to commit a terrorist crime, incitement to commit a terrorist crime, and spreading false news and information. 

 

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Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt and human rights We, the undersigned Egyptian, regional and international human rights organisations, urge the European Commission and member states to uphold international and EU law to ensure that macro-financial assistance to Egypt granted under EU regulations secures concrete, measurable, structural and timebound human rights progress and reforms in the country. Since the 2013 military ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has been ruled with an iron fist. Authorities have brutally and systematically silenced peaceful dissent, nearly wiped-out independent media and civil society, repressed political opposition, adopted and enacted repressive legislation, jailed tens of thousands of actual or perceived critics and severely undermined the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession. With very little civic, judicial, or parliamentary scrutiny, the authorities have faced virtually no accountability for their repressive policies and actions. In turn, this has contributed to the government’s failure to respect, protect and fulfil people’s social and economic rights, leading to setbacks for those most affected by the recurring economic crises in the country. From February 2024 onwards, Egypt’s donors including the United Arab Emirates, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union provided or pledged around 57 billion USD in grants and loans. As part of this process, donors should ensure that the Egyptian authorities pursue and effectively implement reforms that improve respect for human rights alongside greater transparency and accountability. Donors must also ensure that economic and fiscal measures implemented as part of these programs do not contribute to the further erosion of people’s economic and social rights, especially in light of the continuing rise in poverty rates since the adoption of the first IMF program in 2016, as well as the Egyptian government’s inadequate spending levels on social protection, health and education. Any agreed macroeconomic reforms must reflect and uphold the legal obligations of all parties with regard to economic and social rights, notably in the areas of labour rights and environmental justice, and corporate accountability. We believe that structural reforms to strengthen rule of law, guarantee fair trials, open civic space, uphold the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and media freedom, and release all those arbitrarily detained, are crucial. Not only would they comply with Egypt’s constitution and international human rights obligations, but they would also address some of the root causes of Egypt’s financial and economic instability. This instability has severely impacted the economic and social rights of millions of people in Egypt, who will ultimately carry the burden of repaying Egypt’s debts, particularly those in vulnerable and marginalised situations. We note that EU regulations require that recipients of macro-financial assistance “adhere to the respect of human rights and effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law,” while the European Council stipulated that a precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance is that “Egypt continues to make concrete and credible steps towards respecting effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guaranteeing respect for human rights.” However, what those “concrete and credible steps” should be is not defined in the Commission’s proposal. As the Commission and Egyptian authorities negotiate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to regulate the disbursement of EU funds to Egypt up to 2027, we urge the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure that: 1) The MoUs lay out a roadmap for structural reforms, with public, clear, specific and timebound indicators, targets and benchmarks for Egypt to meet its human rights obligations. 2) Egyptian authorities immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. 3) Egyptian authorities open civic and political space, by respecting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including before, during and after the 2025 parliamentary elections. If these steps are met the EU’s macro-financial assistance will contribute to concrete and lasting progress on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt, which is indispensable to ensure transparency and accountability, end impunity and help prevent the recurrence of economic crises in the country. Failing to set human rights benchmarks would instead be a blank check for further abuses and repression in Egypt. Signatories Amnesty International Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Committee for Justice Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) EgyptWide for Human Rights EuroMed Rights International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Human Rights Watch Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) Minority Rights Group Refugees Platform In Egypt (RPE) Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)Joint NGO letter on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to Egypt and human rights We, the undersigned Egyptian, regional and international human rights organisations, urge the European Commission and member states to uphold international and EU law to ensure that macro-financial assistance to Egypt granted under EU regulations secures concrete, measurable, structural and timebound human rights progress and reforms in the country. Since the 2013 military ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has been ruled with an iron fist. Authorities have brutally and systematically silenced peaceful dissent, nearly wiped-out independent media and civil society, repressed political opposition, adopted and enacted repressive legislation, jailed tens of thousands of actual or perceived critics and severely undermined the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession. With very little civic, judicial, or parliamentary scrutiny, the authorities have faced virtually no accountability for their repressive policies and actions. In turn, this has contributed to the government’s failure to respect, protect and fulfil people’s social and economic rights, leading to setbacks for those most affected by the recurring economic crises in the country. From February 2024 onwards, Egypt’s donors including the United Arab Emirates, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Kingdom and the European Union provided or pledged around 57 billion USD in grants and loans. As part of this process, donors should ensure that the Egyptian authorities pursue and effectively implement reforms that improve respect for human rights alongside greater transparency and accountability. Donors must also ensure that economic and fiscal measures implemented as part of these programs do not contribute to the further erosion of people’s economic and social rights, especially in light of the continuing rise in poverty rates since the adoption of the first IMF program in 2016, as well as the Egyptian government’s inadequate spending levels on social protection, health and education. Any agreed macroeconomic reforms must reflect and uphold the legal obligations of all parties with regard to economic and social rights, notably in the areas of labour rights and environmental justice, and corporate accountability. We believe that structural reforms to strengthen rule of law, guarantee fair trials, open civic space, uphold the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and media freedom, and release all those arbitrarily detained, are crucial. Not only would they comply with Egypt’s constitution and international human rights obligations, but they would also address some of the root causes of Egypt’s financial and economic instability. This instability has severely impacted the economic and social rights of millions of people in Egypt, who will ultimately carry the burden of repaying Egypt’s debts, particularly those in vulnerable and marginalised situations. We note that EU regulations require that recipients of macro-financial assistance “adhere to the respect of human rights and effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law,” while the European Council stipulated that a precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance is that “Egypt continues to make concrete and credible steps towards respecting effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guaranteeing respect for human rights.” However, what those “concrete and credible steps” should be is not defined in the Commission’s proposal. As the Commission and Egyptian authorities negotiate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to regulate the disbursement of EU funds to Egypt up to 2027, we urge the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure that: 1) The MoUs lay out a roadmap for structural reforms, with public, clear, specific and timebound indicators, targets and benchmarks for Egypt to meet its human rights obligations. 2) Egyptian authorities immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. 3) Egyptian authorities open civic and political space, by respecting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including before, during and after the 2025 parliamentary elections. If these steps are met the EU’s macro-financial assistance will contribute to concrete and lasting progress on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt, which is indispensable to ensure transparency and accountability, end impunity and help prevent the recurrence of economic crises in the country. Failing to set human rights benchmarks would instead be a blank check for further abuses and repression in Egypt. Signatories Amnesty International Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Committee for Justice Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) EgyptWide for Human Rights EuroMed Rights International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Human Rights Watch Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) Minority Rights Group Refugees Platform In Egypt (RPE) Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)and human rights

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