UN accuses Egypt of using the courts to silence dissidence

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United Nations, human rights experts accused the Egyptian authorities of using the exceptional “terrorism circuit courts” to target human rights defenders, silence dissent, and imprison activists during the new Coronavirus outbreak. In a report on Thursday, UN experts expressed their concern that human rights defenders and civil society actors who have been accused of terrorism are being detained as a form of effective punishment.

Experts said that the special courts, which were established at the end of 2013, “seem to fundamentally violate individual rights and undermine the right to a fair trial.” They also noted that the trials taking place in the Ministry of Interior offices undermine the right to openness and transparency in the legal process.

The United Nations experts pointed out that Egypt has a special duty to support human rights because it participates this year in chairing the review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Last Friday, Amnesty International called on the Egyptian authorities to release hundreds of demonstrators who were arrested during protests called by activists in the framework of the September 20 Movement.

During those protests, two people were killed, and Amnesty International confirmed that 500 people are still in detention. About 70 of the minors who were arrested during the same events have been released.