Egypt Watch

Member of the presidential committee on political prisoners criticizes arbitrary arrests in Egypt streets

A member of the Presidential Pardon Committee, Kamal Abu Aita, has criticized the security forces’ arbitrary arrests of people from the streets during the past days after stopping them and searching their mobile phones, against the backdrop of calls on social media to demonstrate against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on November 11.

Abu Aita described these practices as operations outside the framework of the law that represent a flagrant attack on the personal freedom of citizens. He also expressed his astonishment at the panic created by these calls when no political organization announced that it supported them. Abu Aita said that 1,100 people had been released since the formation of the Presidential Pardon Committee.

On Wednesday, 12 human rights groups condemned Egypt’s exceptional security measures and arrests. They said that the Egyptian authorities had recently arrested at least 138 people. Those arrested were charged with spreading false news, misusing social media, and joining a terrorist group.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has called on the Egyptian government to reveal the whereabouts of Youssef El-Ghamry, 24, son of Hossam El-Ghamry, a dissident residing in Turkey. An Indian environmental activist, who had come to participate in the COP27 climate summit, was also arrested before being released. The rights groups called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release detainees and not to expand practices restricting citizens’ rights and freedoms. They also called on Egypt’s international partners to ensure the country respects human rights.