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Coalition calls for 'popular uprising' to release 66 women held in Egypt

The Revolutionary Coalition for Egyptian Women called yesterday evening for a "strong popular uprising" to force the authorities to release 66 women who have been imprisoned on the basis of accusations which the government refer to as "criminal" while the coalition considers them "political".

The opposition coalition said in a post on its official Facebook page: "Wipe the tears of 66 Esraa El-Taweels in prison."

Esraa El-Taweel, 23, is a young woman who suffers from an injury in her legs which has debilitated her ability to walk. She was imprisoned by the authorities. Her case gained the attention of activists and the opposition in Egypt as, according to their many statements and reports, they believe what happened to Esraa is a human rights violation.

The coalition also "urged all Egyptians to rise in a powerful revolt, supported by civil society organisations, NGOs and human rights institutions, to stop the tears of Egyptian women. Everyone should at least to call for their unconditional release without delay."

"The Revolutionary Coalition for Egyptian Women (RCEW), along with all Egyptians all sadly watched Esraa El-Taweel's tears in the sham court session that renewed her pre-trial detention for a further 45 days yesterday [Monday], after five whole months of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and medical neglect in dark junta dungeons and jails," the group's statement said.

"Esraa is a vivid example of what is happening inside prisons and detention centres in Egypt, where security apparatuses' standard procedure is to arrest and lay false charges against any seemingly anti-coup individual, whether it is a child, a man, a woman, young or old."

"Sadly, there are many Esraas, with many similarly tragic tearful tales. More than 1,500 girls and women have suffered or are still suffering the bitterness of detention in hateful junta prisons. In fact, 66 girls and women are still crying in anguish and pain, oppressed and persecuted, even if we have not seen their tears," added the RCEW.

According to the coalition: "The story of Esraa is repeated with Damietta's Maryam and Fatima Turk as well as Fatima Ayyad – suffering inhuman abuse and squalid conditions in detention, along with ten other women and girls in Port Said Prison. They also suffer total medical negligence and hence are falling victims to many devastating diseases. They all cry for help, but we have not seen their tears. The story of Esraa is also repeated with Kerdasa's Samia Shanan, who is a guiltless detainee. She was the first woman to be sentenced to death by coup justice. She was subjected to severe torture, humiliation and tremendous pressures. She, too, cried, mourning the death of Egyptian justice, and the death of the worlds' conscience, but we have not seen her tears."

The RCEW's statement also noted that "Esraa's farcical trial brings to mind the case of female student Heba Kishta who was sentence to two years in prison by a military court in Port Said. She had been arrested from her university campus on October 30, 2015, while trying to help a wounded student."

The RCEW is a coalition consisting of nine movements opposed to the ruling authorities, and consider the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected civilian president on 3 July 2013 as "a military coup".

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