The Egyptian authorities should quash the convictions of Zyad el-Elaimy, Hossam Moanis, Hisham Fouad and others in Case 957/2021, and ensure their immediate and unconditional release, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.
هذا البيان متوفر باللغة العربية أيضاً
On 17 November 2021, Egypt’s Emergency State Security Court convicted former Member of Parliament and human rights lawyer, Zyad el-Elaimy, journalists and politicians, Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad, and two others of “spreading false news to undermine the State and national security”, sentencing them to terms of five years’, four years’ and three years’ imprisonment, respectively, and to a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds (32 US Dollars) each.
El-Elaimy, Moanis and Fouad have been in pre-trial detention since July 2019 in relation to a different criminal case – Case 930/2019 – also known as the “hope case”, in which the charges of “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization to achieve its objectives”, and “spreading false news on social media to cause strife and to overthrow the government” are still pending against them.
“President al-Sissi’s courts continue to crush dissent and reduce lawyers, journalists, activists and all those suspected of opposing the government to silence,” said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ MENA Programme. “In so doing, they have turned Egypt into a police State where no dissenting voices are tolerated.”
Even though Egypt has announced the lifting of the “state of emergency” on 25 October 2021, the Emergency State Security Courts—to which cases arising from the enforcement of emergency laws have usually been referred—can continue to hear pending cases.
These courts’ verdicts are final, and are not subject to appeal, in violation of the right to a fair trial under international human rights law and standards.
“The ‘state of emergency’ has only been lifted on paper. Through arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, sham trials before the Emergency State Security Courts, and abusive use of ‘counter-terrorism’ measures, President al-Sissi is unleashing an undeclared state of emergency,” added Benarbia.
On 11 February 2021, UN experts called on the Egyptian authorities to remove el-Elaimy from a “terrorist list”, and stop the “systemic” misuse of “counter-terrorism” powers, in violation of international human rights law and standards.
Notwithstanding the UN experts’ appeal, Egypt’s Court of Cassation upheld a decision to include Zyad el-Elaimy on the “terrorists list,” on 14 July 2021, the day before the start of his trial before the Emergency State Security Court.
Along with other human rights NGOs, the ICJ reiterates its call on the UN Human Rights Council to set up a human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism on Egypt with a view to establishing accountability for serious human rights violations in the country, including in the name of “fighting terrorism”.
Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41-22-979-3817; e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
Asser Khattab, Research and Communications’ Officer, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, e: asser.khattab(a)icj.orgNewsPress releases