A dangerous escalation against the opponents: Revoking the nationality from an activist


The Egyptian authorities have officially announced the revocation of the Egyptian nationality from the activist Ghada Naguib. Shock and anger swept social media sites and circles of politicians and opposition activists as soon as they learned of the Sisi regime’s decision to revoke the Egyptian nationality from Ghada.

Activists saw that the decision is a dangerous escalation and an unprecedented step by the Sisi regime towards its Egyptian opponents residing outside the country to escape oppression and arrest. Tweeters launched an attack on Sisi, saying that he was selling Egyptian nationality to foreigners in exchange for a deposit of dollars when he forfeited the nationality of the people of the country and accused them of treason.

The decision, which was published by the Official Gazette in Egypt, agreed to revoke the Egyptian nationality from Ghada Naguib, claiming that it is of Syrian origin. The decision attributed the reason for revoking Najib’s nationality because of her regular residence outside the country, in addition to the issuance of a judgment condemning her for a felony harmful to state security from the outside.

Ghada left Egypt after the military coup in 2013, accompanied by her husband, artist, and journalist Hisham Abdullah, and has succeeded throughout the last period in exposing many violations and abuses in the Egyptian General Intelligence. The opposition activist entered into clashes through the communication sites with the Egyptian intelligence officer Major Ahmed Shaaban, whom Ghada described as the controller and directed to the Egyptian media.

After tracking down the officer Shaaban, Ghada was subjected to a fierce media campaign from the newspapers and channels of the security and intelligence services, which reached the point of accusing her of not being chaste and attributing her eight-year-old son Thaer. At the same time, Ghada’s accounts on social media were subjected to constant communications that caused her to be suspended for a while, in addition to a systematic media campaign against her husband, artist, and journalist Hisham Abdullah.

Revoking citizenship

In 2016, the Attorney General decided to approve placing both the artist Hisham Abdullah and his wife, political activist Ghada Naguib, on the lists of anticipation to reach Egyptian territory. On January 31, 2019, a court sentenced Ghada Muhammad Najeeb and Hisham Abdullah to 5 years in prison in the case registered under No. 1102 of 2017, which is known in the media as the case of the Brotherhood media.

Ghada Naguib was an activist of the Tamarod movement, which organized a campaign to demand the departure of the late President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, but she left the movement and accused its members of receiving intelligence support and external funding. After the decision to revoke the Egyptian nationality from her, Ghada said on her Twitter account that she was surprised by the decision to revoke her nationality, with the false claim that she is of Syrian origin and is residing abroad. She added that she does indeed have Syrian origins. Still, she does not have any Syrian nationality or papers and challenged the Egyptian regime to show any paper proving the opposite, stressing that she would continue to defend her right.

Sympathy for Ghada

The sudden decision of Al-Sisi’s regime sparked a storm of sympathy and solidarity with Ghada, as Haitham Abu Khalil, head of the Center for Human Rights Victims, wrote that revoking the nationality of Ghada Najib is a message of terror. Many politicians and media professionals sent messages of support to Ghada on her Facebook page, stressing that nationality is not a document or paper that the regimes grant to whomever she wants and withdraw it from whom she wants.

The opposition politician Ayman Nour accused the Sisi regime of violating the articles of the constitution in the decision to revoke the nationality, stressing the existence of a legal deviation in the decision issued by the Prime Minister. Others questioned the secret of the power and influence enjoyed by Officer Ahmed Shaban after the dirty media campaign against Ghada, which ended with her revoking her nationality.

In December 2017, the Legislation Department of the State Council approved amendments submitted by the Egyptian government to the Egyptian Nationality Law to expand the cases of withdrawing it from those it described as targeting the state’s public order. Egyptians abroad accused the authorities of their country of refraining from renewing their passports to force them to acquire other nationalities in order to become merely a naturalized opposition. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality, and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 50/152 prohibits arbitrarily depriving anyone of his nationality.

It is noteworthy that Ghada Naguib was born in Cairo. She is 51 years old and has a BA in law. Her father is Egyptian. He is married to an Egyptian, but her grandfather is Syrian. Ghada married Hisham Abdullah on March 13, 1999, and she was living in the Omraniya area in the Giza governorate before traveling with her husband to Turkey.