Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Profile: Mohamed Nagy, researcher and Human rights defender.

Mohamed Nagy Abdel Maqsoud, 26 years old, holds a bachelor degree in commerce from the University of Helwan. He is currently a graduate student, doing a Civil Society and Human Rights diploma at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University.

While still a student, in 2009, Nagy began his professional career in the field of journalism. In 2012, he switched to the field of civil society and human rights, after he helped the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) team compiling the research material for their report on Maspero. Then Nagy became responsible for AFTE’s file on Students’ Freedoms and Rights; which benefited from Nagy’s contributions as he is one of the most promising Egyptian researchers in the field of student rights and academic freedoms.

For four years, Nagy produced a number of in-depth studies, research papers, reports and surveys. Nagy’s work played a significant role, in AFTE receiving the 2014 Academic Freedom Award from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).

Nagy launched several advocacy campaigns, foremost among them his distinguished work in support of the German University students. As he provided incredible support to the students expelled due to their student activity; as well as he documented the student movement in the university since the January 2011 revolution. In addition, to covering the different student activities in face of the university administration intransigence towards independent student union elections, he helped them access media outlets and receive legal and human rights support for their case. Which resulted in the election of a student union that reflects the student movement which lasted for a year.

Furthermore, Nagy contributed in the production of numerous reports and research papers on issues related to students’ regulations, the problematics of organization and student unions and their functionality.

In addition to his research work, Nagy managed AFTE’s “Student Observatory”, a network of students and reporters whom he trained, covering 15 national universities and the Azhar university. The Student Observatory monitors and documents the violations against students and follow the developments of the student movement by covering its events and protests. Nagy also gave various workshops and students’ trainings in different university, through which he introduced to students concepts related to students rights and freedoms; among these training is the twenty-second session of the School of the Cairo institute for Human Rights.

While Nagy provided support to imprisoned student, by enabling them to attend their exams as it is their inherent right in order to protect the future of their educational journey. He now awaits in prison, the permission to attend his graduate diploma exams.

Nagy was randomly arrested on April 25th 2016, among dozens others after the call for protests in Egypt over the delimitation agreement of maritime borders between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He underwent investigation by the National Security in Agouza police station. Then he was referred to the Agouza prosecution which took over the investigation and pressed charges of participating in a demonstration without permit against him and others. They were sent to trial right away, and on the first court session on Saturday the 30th , the Agouza Misdemeanors Court adjourned the trial for hearing to Saturday, May 14th, with the continuation of their detention.

On May 14th 2016, the Agouza Misdemeanors Court sentenced Nagy and 21 others, in the case No. 11059 for the year 2016, to five years in jail on charges of participating in a demonstration; which is the maximum imprisonment penalty in the protest law. This sentence came in the second hearing of the case, directly proceeding the defense pleadings, through one of the ‘terrorism’ court circuit. This sentence was not a decision of the court, but rather a preset political decision to silence every voice that tries to criticize the existing political authority and to make of these young people an example of how anyone who dares to participate in a peaceful protest or even randomly cross its surrounding can lose his/her future in a glimpse of an eye.

The researcher and human right defender Mohamed Nagy and his colleagues faced trial due to an unconstitutional law and received a harsh and politicized sentence; only to join thousands of young people languishing in prison for peacefully expressing their opinion. They need all your solidarity so that their sentence is not upheld on appeal (second and last degree of litigation) which will take place on the 24th of May 2016. They need support so their lives and futures do not became the price to pay in face of a repressive regime that tries to nationalize the public domain and silence any opposition and a corrupt legal system that accepts interventions from the executive power.

Mohamed Nagy, who is now in ward 22 in Giza Central Prison on the Egypt-Alexandria Desert Road, suffers from the harsh living conditions in his cell, as it accommodates 48 people in a tight, poorly ventilated space not reached by sun light, making it a shelter for diseases and infections. In addition, Nagy and others do not enjoy their right to exercise as stated in the prison regulations.

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