Egypt: Urgent Need for Restoration of Rule of Law
In response to an Egyptian court sentencing more than 35 protestors and journalists to life imprisonment or death, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Sentencing three journalists to life imprisonment for their attempting to gather and disseminate factual information highlights the government’s systematic evisceration of fundamental human rights, and the lack of basic freedoms and respect for civil society,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “Repression and injustice are a recipe for radicalism, not an antidote to it. The United States should reevaluate its benchmarks for stability in Egypt, and call for the immediate restoration of the rule of law by the government of President el-Sisi.”
The regime of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is intensifying a crackdown Egyptian civil society organizations and human rights defenders. Authorities have closed hundreds of NGOs while others are at risk of “security” raids.
On April 6, the offices of Radio Horytna and the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies were raided. Its director, Ahmed Samih, was detained and later charged for operating without government permission. On April 11, an Egyptian court sentenced three journalists -- Abdullah al-Fakharany, Samhi Mustafa, and Mohamed al-Adly -- to life in prison for their coverage of the August 2013 Rabaa Al-Adawiya massacre, which resulted in the deaths of at least a thousand protesters. Seventeen eyewitnesses, including human rights lawyer Azza Soliman, who testified about the killing of Shaimah Al-Sabbagh by police during a demonstration in January, have been charged under the sweeping Protest Law and face five years in prison if convicted.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.