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Dec-04-2013 10:49printcomments

Egypt: Physical Assault and Arrest of Human Rights Blogger Mr Alaa Abd El Fattah

Ensure that the treatment of Alaa Abd El Fattah while in detention adheres to all those conditions set out in the 'Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990' -William Nicholas Gomes,Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com

Alaa Abd El Fattah
Alaa Abd El Fattah

(Washington, D.C) - On the evening of 28 November 2013, human rights defender Mr Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested at his home. Both he and his wife, blogger activist Ms Manal Bahey el Din, were physically assaulted. Alaa Abd El Fattah faces charges under the new anti-protest legislation, including “participating in a demonstration”, “assaulting a police officer” and “calling for protests”. Alaa Abd El Fattah is a human rights blogger and activist. In 2005 the Manalaa blog he founded with his wife won the 2005 Deutsche Welle International & Reporters Without Borders Weblog Award.

On 24 November 2013, Law no 107 of 2013 on the Right to Public Meetings, Processions and Peaceful Demonstrations was approved by interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has called the legislation “seriously flawed”. The law bans gatherings “of a public nature” that would constitute a threat to “security” or “disrupt citizens' interests,” and requires protesters to seek prior permission from security forces.

On 26 November 2013, a protest was organised at the People's Assembly to call for the legislation's annulment. The protest was forcefully dispersed with tear gas and fire hose. Thirty-three protesters were detained, including human rights defender Ms Mona Seif, pro-democracy blogger Ms Salma Said and journalists Ms Rasha Azab and Mr Ahmed Ragab. They have since been released. Mona Seif is founder of the 'No To Military Trials' movement and finalist for the 2012 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

She reported on 29 November 2013 that her Twitter account had been hacked and suspended due to an anonymous cyber-attack. On 27 November 2013, Alaa Abd El Fattah received a summons for his arrest from the Public Prosecutor's Office. On 28 November 2013, he submitted a letter to the Public Prosecutor informing of his intention to comply with the summons. on 30 November 2013. However, late on 28 November 2013, Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested at his home, and police officers refused to present an arrest warrant. Both he and his wife were physically assaulted and their computers and laptops were confiscated. Alaa Abd El Fattah's lawyers were eventually able to locate him at the Central Security Forces barracks on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road. Alaa Abd El Fattah has been detained on previous occasions. In 2006, he was arbitrarily detained for 45 days as a result of his online activism. In 2011, he was an active participant in the peaceful demonstrations and online coverage of the revolution that overthrew the Mubarak regime. On 30 October 2011, Alaa Abd El Fattah was summonsed in connection with a peaceful demonstration by Egyptian Coptic Christians on 9 October 2011, during which 27 protesters and one military officer were killed. Alaa Abd El Fattah was released without charge after two months in detention. No official investigation has been held into these events.

Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, William Nicholas Gomes is deeply concerned at the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defender Alaa Abd El Fattah, and the physical assault he and his wife were subjected to. William Nicholas Gomes is further concerned by the new legislation criminalising peaceful protesters and on-line activism.

Adly Mahmoud Mansour
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt



Your Excellency,

On the evening of 28 November 2013, human rights defender Mr Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested at his home. Both he and his wife, blogger activist Ms Manal Bahey el Din, were physically assaulted. Alaa Abd El Fattah faces charges under the new anti-protest legislation, including “participating in a demonstration”, “assaulting a police officer” and “calling for protests”. Alaa Abd El Fattah is a human rights blogger and activist. In 2005 the Manalaa blog he founded with his wife won the 2005 Deutsche Welle International & Reporters Without Borders Weblog Award.

On 24 November 2013, Law no 107 of 2013 on the Right to Public Meetings, Processions and Peaceful Demonstrations was approved by interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has called the legislation “seriously flawed”. The law bans gatherings “of a public nature” that would constitute a threat to “security” or “disrupt citizens' interests,” and requires protesters to seek prior permission from security forces.

On 26 November 2013, a protest was organised at the People's Assembly to call for the legislation's annulment. The protest was forcefully dispersed with tear gas and fire hose. Thirty-three protesters were detained, including human rights defender Ms Mona Seif, pro-democracy blogger Ms Salma Said and journalists Ms Rasha Azab and Mr Ahmed Ragab. They have since been released. Mona Seif is founder of the 'No To Military Trials' movement and finalist for the 2012 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. She reported on 29 November 2013 that her Twitter account had been hacked and suspended due to an anonymous cyber-attack.

On 27 November 2013, Alaa Abd El Fattah received a summons for his arrest from the Public Prosecutor's Office. On 28 November 2013, he submitted a letter to the Public Prosecutor informing of his intention to comply with the summons. on 30 November 2013. However, late on 28 November 2013, Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested at his home, and police officers refused to present an arrest warrant. Both he and his wife were physically assaulted and their computers and laptops were confiscated. Alaa Abd El Fattah's lawyers were eventually able to locate him at the Central Security Forces barracks on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road.

Alaa Abd El Fattah has been detained on previous occasions. In 2006, he was arbitrarily detained for 45 days as a result of his online activism. In 2011, he was an active participant in the peaceful demonstrations and online coverage of the revolution that overthrew the Mubarak regime. On 30 October 2011, Alaa Abd El Fattah was summonsed in connection with a peaceful demonstration by Egyptian Coptic Christians on 9 October 2011, during which 27 protesters and one military officer were killed. Alaa Abd El Fattah was released without charge after two months in detention. No official investigation has been held into these events.

I am deeply concerned at the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defender Alaa Abd El Fattah, and the physical assault he and his wife were subjected to. Front Line Defenders is further concerned by the new legislation criminalising peaceful protesters and on-line activism.

I urge the authorities in Egypt to:

  1. item 1 1. Immediately and unconditionally release Alaa Abd El Fattah as the charges against him are solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights;
  2. Carry out a thorough, impartial and immediate investigation into the physical assault against Alaa Abd El Fattah and his wife, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  3. Ensure that the treatment of Alaa Abd El Fattah while in detention adheres to all those conditions set out in the 'Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990';
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities – including on-line activism – without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment and police violence.


Yours Sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter @wnicholasgomes
www.williamnicholasgomes.com

- See more at: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/24376/action#sthash.0wkqQP0C.dpuf

________________________________________

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Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist. As an investigative journalist has written widely for leading European and Asian media outlets. William Gomes concentrates on humanity; his advocacy of human beings in dangerous, preventable circumstances does in fact lead to some of our most vital reports, because they give a voice to the voiceless.

William Gomes said, "I am against any form of intolerance alongside xenophobia and antisemitism. I am and will always stand strong in combating all forms of racial discrimination and intolerance any where." Read his letters and reports to see what the new generation of world journalists are doing to preserve human rights worldwide.

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