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Amnesty International slams the Egyptian judiciary for being misogynistic

A woman visits an anti-sexual harassment fair in Cairo, 18 May 2007 [CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images]
A woman visits an anti-sexual harassment fair in Cairo, 18 May 2007 [CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images]

Amnesty International issued a statement responding to the Egyptian Court of Cassation's decision to uphold the conviction of Amal Fathy, a women's rights defender who criticised the Egyptian authorities' failure to protect women from sexual harassment.

"The Court's decision to uphold the conviction of Amal shows, once again, that the Egyptian authorities are keener to polish their appalling human rights record than to improve it," Amnesty International said.

"Once again, hopes for justice for an Egyptian human rights defender have been dashed by the country's misogynistic and shamelessly flawed judiciary."

"Criticising the government's failure to address sexual harassment is not a crime," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, adding:

No one should face punishment – let alone imprisonment – for exercising their right to freedom of expression to demand a safer environment for women. The Egyptian authorities must ensure this cruel and unfair conviction is immediately overturned.

Luther added that the Egyptian authorities, in their National Human Rights Strategy, commend their efforts to protect women's rights. Still, their actions today demonstrate their determination to undermine those same rights. "The international community must urgently respond by establishing an independent monitoring and reporting mechanism that can investigate the human rights situation in Egypt, including sexual and gender-based violence."

Read: Egypt jails women's rights activist for highlighting harassment 

The Organisation's statement stated that Amal Fathy is one of the countless Egyptian authorities' horrific and relentless assaults on human rights defenders.

Eight human rights organisations had condemned the verdict upholding the imprisonment of Fathy, who received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for her defence of human rights. The organisations demanded that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi use his powers and issue a presidential pardon.

The organisations said in a joint statement that this ruling confirms the Egyptian State's continued efforts to harass Egyptian human rights activists.

The repression that Fathy, the wife of the Executive Director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, is facing reflects the extension of targeting the Commission and its staff due to their work on documenting violations, especially torture in prisons and enforced disappearance, according to the statement.

Read: Egyptian court sentences activist to jail for 'false news' over sexual harassment video

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