United Nations’ rights experts yesterday called for the release of detained Egyptian opposition activists, citing the government’s recent counter-terrorism measures.
The rights experts said that Egypt must “halt the misuse of counter-terrorism measures against civil society activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders,” demanding the release of those “arbitrarily detained, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed El-Baqer, and Mohamed Ibrahim Radwan.”
Anti-regime blogger Alaa Abdelfattah, lawyer and human rights defender Mohammed El-Baqer, and journalist Mohammed Ibrahim Radwan were charged with spreading false news likely to pose a threat to national security. On 8 November, Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court adjourned its proceedings against the three and judgment was said to be expected on 20 December.
The UN experts said they were “arbitrarily detained and their rights to a fair trial and due process had been violated”, adding that their names should be removed from Egypt’s terrorism watchlist.
“The systemic justification of such egregious measures under the guise of implementing UN Security Council resolutions is a grave threat to the legitimacy of international counter-terrorism framework and laws, the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the long-term peace and stability of Egypt,” the experts pointed out, referring to the Egyptian regime’s policies.
The UN experts urged the Egyptian regime “to revise its anti-terrorism law and to reverse the trajectory of recent amendments that threaten further rights violations.”
Since taking over power following a bloody coup in 2013, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has launched an arrest campaign against all opposition figures and groups, under the pretext of “preserving national security.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists recently said that Egypt had consistently ranked among the world’s top jailers of journalists since Al-Sisi became president. Human Rights Watch has accused Egypt of carrying out what it described as the “extrajudicial killings” of at least 14 people between 2015 and 2020.