Egypt Watch

ANHRI: 2021 was the year of contradictions regarding human rights in Egypt

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information issued a report in which it said that democracy by the end of 2021 remains far from Egypt. Last year saw nothing but more repression and more closure of the public sphere, the report said.

The organisation added that it can be said that 2021 is the year of contradictions between formal statements and actual positions regarding human rights in Egypt. The year 2021 began with a decision to extend the state of emergency and ended with its abolition, the report explained. It also included the launch of the National Human Rights Strategy, while thousands were kept in prolonged pretrial detention, simply for expressing their opinions. The year also witnessed some academics being subjected to security harassment.

According to the report, the year began with official claims of a democratic breakthrough and the opening of the public sphere and ended with the construction of the largest number of prisons, and the restrictive amendment of legislation.

At the end of the year, harsh judicial rulings were issued against several bloggers and activists in exceptional trials in which the rights of the defendants and their defenders were violated, the report said. It also confirmed that the protests did not stop during the year, as 211 protests were recorded. Social and labour protests ranked first with 151 activities, while the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters’ activities continued to decline with only 30 activities.

Students organised 19 activities, in addition to the civil forces organising five protest activities, and six others in support of the government. Sixteen protests were subjected to security restrictions and attacks, while 175 passed without any restrictions, the report added. The authorities succeeded in ending 20 protests through negotiation with their organisers.

Military trials of civilians continued. Of the 69 trials witnessed during the year, there were three military trials in which 432 civilians were tried, in addition to 143 rulings in various cases related to public affairs, including 98 convictions, 43 acquittals, and two rulings issued by criminal courts that ordered the suspension of the execution of the sentence. Also, 2021 witnessed 121 death sentences issued by the civil judiciary, with 18 rulings in political cases against 103 defendants, including 42 defendants with final rulings, and 103 rulings in criminal cases against 193 defendants, including four with final rulings.

The prison service sector carried out the death sentences in 17 cases against 44 defendants, according to the report.