The ICJ today condemned the physical assault and acts of threats and intimidation taken against its Commissioner Gamal Eid, a prominent Egyptian lawyer and human rights defender.
The ICJ called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice. They should also take effective measures to ensure that Gamal Eid and other lawyers and human rights lawyers are protected.
Amidst the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and the arrest of more 4,000 individuals since recent anti-corruption protests began, Gamal Eid has been subjected to a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment.
Two armed men in civilian clothes physically assaulted him on October 10, stole his cellphone and tried to seize his laptop. The assault resulted in injuries to his arm and leg and several cracks in his ribs.
Prior to this assault, Eid’s car was stolen on 30 September and he has repeatedly received anonymous phone calls and messages ordering him to “stop and behave.”
The ICJ believes these attacks to be related to Eid’s work as a lawyer and to his human rights activities, and are part of a pattern by the Egyptian military and government to silence people suspected of opposing them, including those documenting and reporting on the ongoing crackdown on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Instead of resorting to cynical, thuggish tactics to silence Gamal Eid, Egypt’s military and government must act to ensure his safety and physical integrity,” said Said Benarbia, Director of ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
“ They must also ensure that lawyers and human rights defenders are able to carry out their work free of fear, harassment or intimidation,” he added.
In the context of the recent protests against President El-Sisi, the Egyptian security forces have arbitrarily detained at least 16 lawyers in relation to the exercise of their professional functions, including Mahienour El-Massry and Mohamed El-Baqer.
Amr Imam, a lawyer and colleague of Gamal Eid at Arabic Network for Human Rights Information was also arrested on 16 October 2019.
The threats to, attacks against, and arbitrary detention of Egyptian lawyers and human rights defenders are in contravention with Egypt’s obligations under international law, and run counter to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which respectively provide that lawyers and human rights defenders must be able to carry out their professional functions and work without hindrance, harassment, intimidation, or improper interference.
Said Benarbia, Director of ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program, t: +41 22 979 38 17 ; e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
Egypt-Gamal Eid-News-press releases.2019-ARA (Arabic version, in PDF)NewsPress releases