Annual Human Rights report for Egypt, 2022

Authorities severely repressed the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. In the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November, authorities released 895 prisoners held for political reasons but arrested nearly triple that number, including hundreds linked to calls for protests during COP27. Thousands of actual or perceived government critics or opponents remained arbitrarily detained and/or unjustly prosecuted. No adequate investigations were carried out into at least 50 suspicious deaths in custody involving reports of denial of adequate healthcare or torture.

Death sentences were handed down after grossly unfair trials and executions were carried out. Sexual and gender-based violence remained prevalent, amid the authorities’ failure to adequately prevent and punish it. Authorities repressed workers’ right to strike, and failed to protect them from unfair dismissal by companies.

Residents of informal settlements were forcibly evicted and detained for protesting against home demolitions. Authorities prosecuted Christians demanding their right to worship and others espousing religious beliefs not sanctioned by the state. Refugees and migrants were arbitrarily detained for irregularly entering or staying in Egypt, and dozens were forcibly returned to their home country.



Recorded executions in 2022 reached the highest figure in five years, with the Middle East and North Africa’s most notorious executioners leading the way by carrying out killing sprees, Amnesty International said in an annual report.

The number of executions recorded by Amnesty International in the Middle East and North Africa region increased significantly by 59% from 520 in 2021 to 825 in 2022; and recorded death sentences decreased slightly from 834 in 2021 to 827 in 2022. 

“Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region violated international law as they ramped up executions in 2022, revealing a callous disregard for human life. The number of individuals deprived of their lives rose dramatically across the region; Saudi Arabia executed a staggering 81 people in a single day. Most recently, in a desperate attempt to end the popular uprising, Iran executed people simply for exercising their right to protest,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Ninty percent of the world’s known executions outside China were carried out by just three countries in the region. Recorded executions in Iran soared from 314 in 2021 to 576 in 2022; figures tripled in Saudi Arabia, from 65 in 2021 to 196 in 2022 — the highest recorded by Amnesty in 30 years — while Egypt executed 24 individuals. Executions in Egypt are also closely tied to other human rights violations, such as torture and unfair trials.


Demand release of detained anti-torture T-Shirt protester Mahmoud hussein

Mahmoud Hussein, a protester who had already spent two years in arbitrary pretrial detention for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt, was re-arrested on 30 August. After his release on bail in 2016, he was convicted of bogus charges and sentenced to life imprisonment in his absence in a grossly unfair trial by an emergency court marred by allegations of torture. He is detained at Badr 1 prison pending his retrial, amid concerns over his health. He must be immediately and unconditionally released as his detention is solely linked to the exercise of his human rights, including by wearing an anti-torture T-shirt.

Mahmoud Hussein is currently held in Badr 1 Prison, located 70 km northeast of Cairo. According to Amnesty International’s previous research, prisoners there complain of cruel and inhumane conditions characterized by deliberate denial of healthcare, exposure to extreme cold and constant camera surveillance. Family visits for other prisoners are only allowed every two months for 20 minutes and are conducted through a glass barrier preventing direct and physical contact with loved ones. This is in breach of Egypt’s prison regulations that stipulate weekly visits lasting no less than 45 minutes for detainees in pretrial detention.



Egyptian authorities continued to crush all forms of peaceful dissent and stifle civic space.

Security forces arbitrarily arrested at least 11 journalists for their work or critical views. At least 26 journalists remained arbitrarily detained following convictions or pending investigations into accusations of “spreading false news”, “misusing social media” and/or “terrorism”.

At least 600 news, human rights and other websites remained blocked, according to rights groups.

Authorities arbitrarily detained at least eight human rights defenders, and subjected those at liberty to surveillance, unlawful summoning and coercive questioning.

Fifteen human rights defenders and NGO staff were still subjected to investigation, travel bans and asset freezes in relation to the decade-long criminal investigation into the legitimate work of civil society organizations known as Case 173. In April, the government required all NGOs to register under the draconian 2019 NGO law by April 2023 or face closure.

Political opponents were also targeted through arbitrary detention, unfair prosecution and other harassment. In May, an emergency court sentenced former presidential candidate and founder of Masr al-Qawia party Abdelmoniem Aboulfotoh, and its deputy head Mohamed al-Kassas, to 15 years and 10 years in prison, respectively, for disseminating “false news”,“membership of a terrorist group” and other bogus charges.

Authorities added 620 people, including detained journalists and opposition politicians, to their “list of terrorists” without due process, effectively banning them from engaging in civic or political work or travelling abroad for five years.

In the lead-up to COP27, security forces arrested hundreds of people in connection with protests planned during the conference. Among them was Abdelsalam Abdelghany, arrested in September at his home in the capital, Cairo, after he supported calls for protests during COP27 on social media. He remained detained pending investigations on charges of “spreading false news” and “joining a terrorist group”.

During COP27, security forces subjected participants to interrogations, surveillance and other forms of harassment, and denied entry to Egypt during COP27 to Italian national Giorgio Caracciolo of the anti-torture group DIGNITY.

On 6 November, British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who had been on hunger strike in protest at his arbitrary detention and denial of consular visits since April, also stopped drinking water. On 11 November, he was fed intravenously after he lost consciousness. He remained arbitrarily detained and in poor health at the end of the year.

After the president announced the reactivation of the Presidential Pardons Committee (PPC) in April, authorities ordered the release of 895 people held for political reasons and dozens of others for failure to pay debts.1 Security forces refused to release at least 33 of them, unlawfully summoned others for questioning and threatened to re-arrest them for speaking out. Activist Sherif al-Rouby was released in May and re-arrested in September after he publicly complained about hardships facing former prisoners. Security forces arbitrarily banned from travelling human rights lawyer Mahinour el-Masry, researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy and others released in 2022.

From the reactivation of the PPC in April to the end of the year, 2,562 suspected critics or opponents of the government were arrested and interrogated by the Supreme State Security Prosecution, while thousands remained detained arbitrarily for exercising their human rights. Lawyer Youssef Mansour remained arbitrarily detained since his arrest in March for criticizing abuses against a client.

Prosecutors and judges routinely renewed the pretrial detention of thousands of people held on unfounded terrorism or security-related charges. A new online system for detention-renewal hearings in Badr 3 prison violated detainees’ right to adequate defence and to challenge the legality of their detention.

Defendants’ rights to a fair trial were routinely flouted, with security forces preventing private meetings with lawyers. Convictions and trials of government opponents and human rights defenders by inherently unfair emergency courts continued despite the lifting of the state of emergency in October 2021.

Prosecutors routinely failed to order investigations into complaints of enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment.

Security forces subjected hundreds of detainees to enforced disappearance, some for months. National Security Agency (NSA) officers arrested Abdel Rahman al-Saeed on 23 March at his home after he posted a video on social media criticizing the rising cost of living. He remained forcibly disappeared until 19 April.

Torture remained rampant in prisons, police stations and NSA-run facilities. After videos depicting police abuse at Al-Salam First police station in Cairo were leaked in January, authorities convicted and sentenced 21 men, a woman and a boy to between five years and life in prison and added them to the “list of terrorists”. Authorities did not open impartial and effective investigations into the police abuse.

In the second half of the year, authorities moved hundreds of prisoners held for political reasons from the Tora prison complex south of Cairo to the new Wadi al-Natrun prison complex north of Cairo and Badr prison complex, north-east of Cairo. There and elsewhere conditions were cruel and inhuman, with prisoners reporting overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of hygiene, and inadequate food, drinking water, fresh air and exercise. Authorities denied prisoners access to adequate healthcare and imposed undue restrictions or barred contact with the outside world, in some cases deliberately to punish dissent. Authorities imposed on all detainees in Badr 3 prison a blanket ban on family and lawyer visits and written correspondence.

The courts, including terrorism-circuits of criminal courts and emergency courts, handed down death sentences after unfair mass trials.

In June, a terrorism-circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced 10 men to death for “terrorism” and murder after a grossly unfair trial. Many had been forcibly disappeared and tortured, denied access to their lawyers, and held in cruel and inhuman conditions amounting to torture.2

While the rate of executions dropped from previous years, the execution of individuals convicted after grossly unfair trials continued.

Four videos, which appeared online between July and August, depicted the apparent extrajudicial execution of three unarmed men in custody by the military and affiliated tribal militias in North Sinai. In one video, a visibly injured young man, possibly under the age of 18, can be seen being questioned before being shot dead by an individual in military fatigues and boots.

Prosecutors failed to carry out independent and effective investigations into the causes and circumstances of at least 50 deaths in custody following reports about denial of adequate healthcare or about torture.

The Public Prosecution closed investigations into the suspicious death in custody of the economist Ayman Hadhoud on 18 April, ignoring evidence that the authorities forcibly disappeared him on 5 February and then subjected him to torture and other ill-treatment, and denied him access to timely and adequate healthcare.3

In July, an Italian court halted the prosecution of Egyptian security officers for the torture and murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in 2016 amid the refusal of Egyptian authorities to cooperate and disclose the suspects’ locations.

Authorities failed to adequately prevent and redress widespread sexual and gender-based violence by state and non-state actors.

Between June and October, four young women were killed by men whose advances they rejected. Police did not act on complaints of harassment lodged by Nayera Ashraf against another student at the University of Mansoura two months before he stabbed her to death.

Authorities prosecuted activists speaking out against sexual violence. In January, the Court of Cassation upheld the conviction against activist Amal Fathy for criticizing the authorities’ failure to protect women from sexual harassment, and sentenced her to one year’s imprisonment.

In August, an economic court convicted journalist Rasha Azab of “insult” and “defamation” and fined her EGP 10,000 (USD 522) for expressing solidarity online with survivors of sexual violence who published anonymous testimonies accusing film director Islam Azazi of sexual assaults.4

Authorities prosecuted women social media influencers for their conduct on social media. At least seven women remained imprisoned on morality-related or other bogus charges.

Authorities continued to target individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In April, security forces arrested four men and two transgender women at a mall in Cairo and briefly detained them solely on the grounds of their gender identity and their actual or perceived sexual orientation. They reported being verbally and physically abused. One of the transgender women said she was sexually harassed and forced to strip naked and remove her hijab.

A handout picture provided by the Consomed company for medical products on March 26, 2020, shows a Tunisian woman flashing the victory sign as she works on the production of medical masks in the company's factory in the central city of Kairouan.
A handout picture provided by the Consomed company for medical products on March 26, 2020, shows a Tunisian woman flashing the victory sign as she works on the production of medical masks in the company’s factory in the central city of Kairouan. – The factory, which has become the main supplier of protective medical apparel and equipment in Tunisia, is able to continue the production after 150 workers agreed to continue their tasks under confinement, in a country which has confirmed 173 cases of novel coronavirus since March, including 5 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. (Photo by – / CONSOMED / AFP) (Photo by -/CONSOMED/AFP via Getty Images)

Press Release

Workshop for media featuring Nazanin Boniadi and the Middle East Institute will examine COVID-19 impact on the Middle East and North Africa

April 7, 2020 – Coronavirus

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo’s downtown on September 20, 2019. – Protestors also gathered in other Egyptian cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but police quickly dispersed them. In Cairo dozens of people joined night-time demonstrations around Tahrir Square — the epicenter of the 2011 revolution that toppled the country’s long-time autocratic leader. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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World Leaders Must Act To Stop Egyptian President al-Sisi’s Repressive Crackdown

September 24, 2019 – al-Sisi

An Egyptian soldier stands on guard near a waving national flag as citizens arrive to cast votes in a referendum on constitutional amendments, at a school in the capital Cairo’s northern neighbourhood of Shubra, on the first day of a three-day poll, on April 20, 2019. – Polls in Egypt opened on April 20 for 62 million eligible voters to make their voice hear on a referendum that could keep President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030. On the ballot is a raft of constitutional changes that would extend Sisis current term by two years. He would be eligible to run for six more years in 2024. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Press Release

Mass Hunger Strike at al-Aqrab Prison Over Denial of Family Visits and Dire Conditions

July 31, 2019 – al-Aqrab

An Egyptian soldier stands on guard near a waving national flag as citizens arrive to cast votes in a referendum on constitutional amendments, at a school in the capital Cairo’s northern neighbourhood of Shubra, on the first day of a three-day poll, on April 20, 2019. – Polls in Egypt opened on April 20 for 62 million eligible voters to make their voice hear on a referendum that could keep President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030. On the ballot is a raft of constitutional changes that would extend Sisis current term by two years. He would be eligible to run for six more years in 2024. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Egypt: Series of draconian laws ‘legalizes’ unprecedented repression six years since fall of Morsi

July 2, 2019 – Egypt

Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, wearing a red uniform, gestures from behind the defendant’s bars during his trial on espionage charges at a court in Cairo on June 18, 2016. An Egyptian court sentenced Morsi to life in prison in an espionage trial in which six co-defendants were handed death penalties.The court acquitted Morsi of charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents but sentenced him to life for leading an unlawful organisation. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

Press Release

Authorities in Egypt must order immediate investigation into death of former President Mohamed Morsi

June 17, 2019 – Detention

Nawal Benaissa, 36 yeards-old, is a mother of 4 who joined Hirak early on and became one of its main female leading voices. She took part to several protests with her husband and children and has been very active on social media. Her Facebook profile gained more than 80 000 followers, before authorities asked her to shut down during one of her detention in custody. She was arrested and held in custody for few hours four times between June and September 2017. This last time she was sued and on mid-February 2018, she was sentenced to 10 months suspended sentence and a fine of 500 hundred dirhams for inciting to commit an offence (by speech, cries or threats made in the places where public meetings, either through posters exposed to the public or by any means fulfilling the condition, advertising, including electronically, on paper and by audio-visual channel, if the provocation has not been followed by effect. Article 299 of the penal code). Her lawyer has appealed the sentence, the Court of Appeal has yet to rule. Benaissa responded to the court’s decision on her Facebook page by expressing her continued support for the Rif protests. “I am proud to take part in the protests in the region and I denounce the imprisonment of Hirak activists. I demand their immediate release,” she wrote. Few weeks ago, she moved from the northern city of Al Hoceima to another Moroccan city in order to flee harassment from authorities.

Press Release

Amnesty International launches world’s biggest human rights campaign

November 28, 2018 – activism