Over the past four days, the police have arrested at least 100 people in eight governorates, in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate the public and prevent any demonstrations on April 25 2016. The police have arrested young people in cafes in downtown Cairo, at metro stations, at random police checkpoints and at their homes. Lawyers tracking the arrests say that the number of arrests is expected to increase in the coming hours given the long list of arrest warrants they have seen on prosecutors’ desks.
The policies of the current regime in Egypt have severely curtailed public space in Egypt. Security forces have been given free rein to use excessive force, including live ammunition against demonstrators. Both the Public Prosecution and judges use prolonged pretrial detention as a punitive measure, trump up charges against demonstrators, and turn a blind eye to torture and killings by security forces. The judiciary has issued excessively harsh sentences against political dissidents. All of these factors combined, have led to the deaths of thousands of citizens with no real accountability for the security forces. Prisons are filled with thousands more dissidents, journalists, human rights defenders, and ordinary people with no political affiliation. This has made participation at any public political action a risky endeavor that may cost citizens their life or freedom.
SOLIDAR member’s partner in Egypt, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) has co-signed a statement, together with other Egyptian Human Rights and Civil Society Organisations, calling for the release of those arrested in connection with the 25 April protests.
SOLIDAR adds its voice to that of the Civil Society Organisations, Human Rights Defenders and Independent Trade Unions that continue to fight for social justice, and defending human rights in Egypt.
See here previous SOLIDAR joint statements on the shrinking space for civil society in Egypt: