Eight human rights organisations have denounced the ruling issued by the Egyptian Court of Cassation, upholding the imprisonment of activist Amal Fathy – who has received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights – for one year. The organisations also called on the president to issue a presidential pardon for Fathy. The ruling was issued in conjunction with Sisi’s declaration of 2022 as the year of civil society, and following the announcement of the National Strategy for Human Rights. It is confirmation of the Egyptian state’s continued efforts to abuse jurists and human rights organisations, the organisations said in a joint statement.
The statement added that the repression that Fathy, the wife of the Executive Director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Mohamed Lotfy, is facing is an extension of the attacks against the commission and its staff because of its work documenting police violations, especially torture in prisons and enforced disappearance.
The case dates back to May 11, 2018, when security forces stormed Fathy’s house and arrested her after searching the house. After hours of protracted investigation, the Public Prosecution decided to imprison her for 15 days on charges of broadcasting a video clip on a social networking site that included incitement to overthrow the regime, spreading false rumours and misuse of social media. The video shows Fathy after being harassed by a public employee in a government department. Two days after her arrest, Fathy was interrogated again before the Supreme State Security Prosecution in connection with a new case, accusing her of joining a terrorist group and using the Internet to incite terrorist acts and spread false news. She was also questioned about her husband’s activities. In December 2018, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered her release in connection with this case, while the Maadi Misdemeanor Court sentenced her to two years imprisonment and a fine of EGP 10,000 in the case related to the harassment video.
The organisations affirmed that such practices will not will not discourage human rights organisations from continuing their work in monitoring and documenting these violations.