Urgent Action: Detained Journalist Accused of Terrorism (Egypt: UA 145.20)

September 22, 2020

On 30 August 2020, unlawfully detained journalist and human rights defender, Esraa Abdelfattah, was brought in front of the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) for questioning on accusations of “joining a terrorist organization” as part of the recently opened case (No. 855/2020).

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TAKE ACTION:

  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 145.20. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawi
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Madinat al-Rehab, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2577 4716
Twitter: @EgyptJustice
Ambassador Yasser Reda
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400 I Fax: 202 244 5131
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EgyptEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Counselor,

I am writing to raise concerns about the ongoing arbitrary detention of journalist and human rights defender Esraa Abdelfattah. Amnesty International considers her to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for her peaceful practice of her rights to freedom of expression, association and participation in public affairs.

Esraa was abducted from the street by security forces in plain clothes on 12 October 2019 and held for eight hours at an undisclosed location managed by the National Security Agency (NSA), a specialized police force, during which time she said she was tortured. The next day she was transferred to the SSSP, a special branch of the prosecution responsible for investigating security threats, which ordered her detention in relation to case (No. 488/2019) over investigations into unfounded charges of “joining a terrorist group in achieving its goals”, “disseminating false news” and “misusing social media”. The SSSP prosecutor questioned Esraa about her previous political activism. Since then, her pre-trial detention has been renewed, most recently on 24 August by the Cairo Criminal Court for another 45 days.

On 30 August 2020, Esraa was brought in front of the SSSP to face questioning over investigations into a new case (No. 855/2020). The case includes activists like Mahienour el-Masry, journalist Solafa Magdy and human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer. Esraa was accused of “joining a terrorist organization” and “participating in a criminal agreement intended to commit a terrorist crime from inside prison”. Esraa’s lawyer told Amnesty International that the SSSP prosecutor accused Esraa of communicating with individuals outside prison to spread rumours and false news. He claimed that she was able to engage in such acts while in the prison courtyard exercising and during court sessions and appearances at the prosecution’s office. Esraa argued that the accusations were baseless as she had been cut off from the outside world from 10 March to 22 August 2020, when all prison visits were suspended by the authorities citing COVID-19 concerns.

I ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Esraa Abdelfattah and drop all charges against her. Pending her release, I urge you to ensure that she is provided with means to regularly communicate with her family and lawyers. I also urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately release all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly and take measures to protect the health of all prisoners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Esraa Abdelfattah’s allegations that she was tortured and otherwise ill-treated must be independently and thoroughly investigated and those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES