The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) express their distress regarding the arrest of prominent opposition speaker and former leader of the well known Kifaya movement, George Ishak, after the movement backed a nationwide strike earlier this week and has been denied the right to meet with lawyers.

April 10th, 2008 by EOHR

According to information received on April 10th 2008, police forces entered Ishak’s home on the night of April 9th and arrested him also searching his home, confiscating personal documents and books and denying him the right of legal representation.

State Security Prosecution interrogated Ishak the night of his arrest and he will be held in detention until presented again to State Security Prosecution on the afternoon of April 10th. The charges against him are “conspiring with others to incite protest with the intention of committing crimes which violate rights of individuals, public property, and the use of violence and force to prevent the public authorities in the performance of their work”. Authorities seem to be targeting Egyptian opposition, particularly the Kifaya movement due to its association with the April 6th strike. Fathy El Hifnawy, member of Kifaya in the governorate of Gharbiya was also arrested last night.

The strike which was planned for April 6th was intended to protest rising prices but due to strong police control it did not achieve the wide national presence the organizing opposition groups including Kifaya, had hoped for. Police crackdown on the April 6th strikes and protests has been occurring elsewhere in Egypt, particularly in Mahallah, Northern Egypt where 85 protestors are currently being investigated with in neighboring Tanta.

FIDH and EOHR are concerned by the initial refusal of the Egyptian authority to allow lawyers into the State Security Prosecution Office to meet with Ishak, a decision which it later reversed. They also denounce the charge against Ishak and warns of its similarity to the definition of “terrorism’ stipulated in Egyptian anti-terrorism Law of 1992 which reinforces the authorities’ right to crackdown on human rights activism and peaceful political opposition.

FIDH and EOHR call upon to the Egyptian authorities to:

  1. Immediately release of George Ishak who has been targeted merely for his human rights activities rather than any criminal or unlawful actions and ensure the entry of lawyers to the State Security Prosecution to attend the investigation and trial proceedings .FIDH and EOHR call for Immediate release of Mohamed El Ashkar, Mohamed El Sharkawy, Israa Abdul Fatah, and other detainees of strike .
  2. put an end to all forms of restrictions against protested movements especially the Kifaya movement and any other group, organization or person seen to be associated with the April 6th strike;
  3. Conform with the provision in article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Egypt is party to, which declares that the state must ensure the right to strike, provided it is exercised in conformity with the Egyptian law;
  4. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”
  5. immediately release the detainees and a in Mahallah arrested while they demonstrating peacefully and who were not involved in any criminal offense
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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2008 at 5:16 am and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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