AFTE’s Weekly Legal Bulletin ( 5:12 November 2023)| Ahmed El-Tantawy and 22 members of his presidential campaign were referred to criminal prosecution, and the criminal court renewed the detention of 4 defendants, including Marwa Arafa, and the administrative judiciary set December 17 to adjudicate the appeal of student Omar Ali

Date : Sunday, 12 November, 2023
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Detention renewals

The 7th of November hearings: 

Al-Matarya Misdemeanor Court has decided today to commit Ahmed Mohamed Ramadan El-Tantawy, his presidential campaign manager, and 21 of the campaign members to criminal trial pending case No. 16336 of 2023 Matarya Misdemeanors, Publically known as “ Al-Tantawy’s public Endorsements.”

The court has charged El-Tantawy and his campaign manager with Participating through incitement, agreement, and supplying the twenty-one other defendants with one of the electoral process papers (Form No. 4) and printing and circulating it without the permission of the competent authority, as well as charging the rest of the defendants with printing and circulating an electoral process paper (Form No. 4) without a license.

The 21 defendants, whose names are as follows, were already referred to the prosecution after arresting them last October on the grounds of participating with a terrorist group and circulating electoral papers.

 

The 8th of November hearings:

The Criminal Court (First Circuit) renewed the detention of Mohamed Ahmed Saad for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 930 of 2019 (Supreme State Security), known in the media as “the Alliance of Hope lawsuit.” which included a large number of political activists, Although he didn’t participate in any political activity.

Saad exceeded the legal period of pretrial detention stipulated in the law, as he was arrested from inside the examination hall at the Faculty of Commerce at Al-Azhar University on May 17, 2019, he appeared before the Prosecution on July 1. Saad faces accusations of joining a terrorist group, financing this group, spreading false news and information, and using a social media account to spread false news.

The Criminal Court (First Circuit) renewed the detention of Amir Sayed Mohamed and Reyad Mohamed Abdel Rahaman for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 744 of 2023 (Supreme State Security).

Although Amir and Reyad are Zamalek football club fans, the prosecution accused them of joining a terrorist group, Ultras Ahlawy, and spreading false news and information that would harm public security and order.

Security forces arrested Amir and Reyad on May 3 from the DownTown district in Cairo, and security forces detained them without legal basis and in an unknown location for eight days before presenting them before the prosecution.

The Criminal Court (First Circuit) renewed the detention of translator and political activist Marwa Arafa for 45 days, pending investigations of lawsuit No. 570 of 2020 (Supreme State Security), in which Arafa has been detained since April 2020.

The renewal of Arafa’s detention violates the Code of Criminal Procedure, which stipulates that the maximum period of pre-trial detention is two years. Security forces raided Arafa’s house, arrested her, and confiscated several personal belongings. She faces accusations of joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its purposes and committing a finance crime for a terrorist purpose.

Administrative Judiciary

The Supreme Administrative Court adjourned the Ministry of Higher Education’s appeal No. 14728 of 1969 against the ruling issued in favor of Manar Al-Tantawy, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Higher Institute of Technology in 10th of Ramadan, deserving of her entitlement to the professorship degree that she was denied due to the security refusal, until December 2 session, to request The defense reviewed the appeal.

The Disciplinary Council of the Teaching Staff at the Higher Technological Institute in the 10th of Ramadan City acquitted Al-Tantawy of the charges attributed to her in Disciplinary Case No. 20 of 2023 last August. The Ministry of Higher Education soon appealed this ruling, continuing the unjustified intransigence directed at El-Tantawy.

The Administrative Judiciary Court (Sixth Circuit) set next December 17 as a date to adjudicate appeal No. 57029 of 74 filed by AFTE challenging the decision to permanently dismiss student Omar Mohamed Ali from Thebes Higher Institute of Engineering for dropping out of studies pending the defense receipt of a military prosecution’s response of the student’s detention statement.

The institute has been obstinate in the decision to dismiss the student on the pretext of dropping out of studies, despite knowing that the drop off was due to coercive circumstances that refrained him from attending lectures and taking exams, which is spending a life sentence in prison pending Case No. 174 of 2015 (West Cairo Military Felonies), and despite a court ruling in 2017 of enabling him to resume his studies and take his exams in prison per his legal right as a prisoner, stipulated in article 31 of the Prison Organization Law.

The institute’s intransigence in dismissing the student resulted in filing a lawsuit demanding to exercise his right as a prisoner to attend architectural engineering exams. The court has been postponing the examination of the appeal since November 2020 but insisted this time on setting the appeal and issuing a rule without waiting for the statement requested by the defense from the military prosecution stating the student’s imprisonment and the duration of it. The student’s defense saw that this would lead to the rejection of the appeal, so it decided to postpone the hearing one last time and provided a copy of the Military Public Prosecutor’s letter to the prosecution to approve the implementation of the Administrative Judiciary Court’s permit.

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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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