Egyptian Criminal Charges for Tweet Should be Dropped

New charges by Egyptian authorities against Amr Hamzawy, a former member of parliament, for a tweet criticizing the unjust conviction of human rights activists for their work are dismaying moves against the fundamental right of free speech, Freedom House said.

"The criminalization of political speech and the suppression of even the most innocuous forms of dissent will drive Egypt further from democracy, almost inevitably leading to greater violence and instability,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "This greatly harms Egypt and has serious consequences for the future of the entire region."

Hamzawy’s tweet criticized the June 2013 conviction of 43 NGO workers and the closure of their organizations, including the Cairo office of Freedom House. The charges reflect a vengeance-driven politics that have polarized Egypt under the current military-backed government and its predecessor, led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Freedom House demands the charges against Hamzawy be dropped, and that Egypt's government embrace a process of political reconciliation and inclusion, the only realistic path back toward a stable and democratic Egypt.

Learn more:
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Egypt Democracy Compass
Blog: Pattern of Abuses Continues in Egypt Despite Leadership Changes
Timeline of Human Rights Violations in Egypt since the Fall of Mubarak
Freedom in the World 2013: Egypt
Freedom of the Press 2013: Egypt
Freedom on the Net 2013: Egypt