Arab Women Judges and Lawyers Demand Immediate Release of Yara Sallam

Press Release

25 September 2014

A group of women judges and lawyers from Arab countries sent a letter to Justice Hamed Abdullah, the head of the Egyptian Supreme Judicial Council, on the10th of September to express their grave concern about the detention of Yara Sallam, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

The signatories to the letter, who include judges and lawyers from Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, and, Tunisia expressed their profound concern about Law 107/2013, known as the protest law. The law not only places excessive restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly, but also gives security forces extensive powers to detain protestors and disperse demonstrations.

“Egyptian courts and members of the Public Prosecution must not use this law to arrest, detain, prosecute, and convict individuals for the legitimate exercise of their right of peaceful assembly,” the letter said.

The letter considered Yara Sallam’s arrest and detention to be arbitrary, since it is not permitted to arrest or detain any person for exercising an internationally recognized human right, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right of peaceful assembly.

The signatories to the statement demanded that Sallam be immediately and unconditionally released, that all charges against her be dropped, and that her physical and psychological safety be guaranteed in all conditions.

Sallam was arrested in the environs of a demonstration against the protest law. She remains in detention pending trial with 22 other defendants, among them 21-year-old political activist Sanaa Seif, who has been on a hunger strike for 29 days. She began the strike after the death of her father, the well-known human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam.