A year since the ongoing security attack on the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights: The fabricated charges remain in place, along with the travel ban and the seizure of the funds of the three directors of EIPR, and the founder awaits sentencing today
Today, more than a year has passed since the start of the unprecedented security attack on the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which saw the arrest, within one week, of its executive director, Gasser Abdel Razek, its managing director, Mohamed Bashir, and the director of the criminal justice unit at EIPR, Karim Ennarah, in a four day period between 15 and 19 November 2020, before releasing them all from custody on December 3.
On this occasion, EIPR renews its demands to drop the fabricated charges brought by the Supreme State Security Prosecution without basis or evidence against EIPR’s leaders, and to close the investigation into this alleged case, as well ending the unjust and punitive measures tied to the investigation preventing the three directors from travelling and seizing their money and personal property.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution had included the three directors of EIPR as defendants in Case No. 855 of 2020 and charged them with a an array of accusations, including joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its purposes, broadcasting false news and statements that would disturb public security and harm public interest, and using al private account on the Internet to spread false news.
EIPR said today that all attempts made over the past year by its lawyer to lodge an appeal against the decisions to prevent the three directors from traveling and from accessing their money have failed so far, despite the appeal submission being submitted five months ago. The Supreme State Security Prosecution has yet to send the court a memorandum of the required information (which the court requested from the prosecution), that communique being a necessary procedure before the court can set a date for a hearing into the appeal submission before one of the criminal divisions of the Cairo Court of Appeal. This means that the three directors are deprived of even the opportunity to seek a legal remedy for the continuing injustice they suffer from, despite the fact that the law gives the affected people the right to challenge these precautionary measures at least once every three months. It has been a year and they have not been able to challenge it once.
The continued targeting of the three directors of EIPR with these arbitrary measures comes in a broader context of the security campaign and ongoing targeted prosecutions against independent human rights organizations in general, which has taken aim at EIPR because of its activities in the field of defending human rights over the past 19 years since its foundation. Patrick George Zaki, a researcher with the Initiative, has been detained for nearly two years now and is currently being tried before the Emergency State Security Court because of an article he published in 2019. EIPR is also still under investigation in Case No. 173 of 2011 known as the Civil Society Organization Funding Case, including the inclusion of the founder and director of the initiative, Hossam Bahgat, on the lists of people banned from traveling and seizing his money since 2016 and until this very day. On top of that, today - the 29th of November 2021 - Bahgat is about to be sentenced by the Economic Misdemeanors Court in a case where he was indicted of charges of insulting the Election Commission and spreading false news in a case that is awaiting a verdict on November 29.