The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issues its special-purpose report on the 25th Of April demonstrations under the title of “the resurgence of gagging mouths”

May 5th, 2016 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issues its special-purpose report on the 25th Of April demonstrations under the title of “the resurgence of gagging mouths”

On Thursday 5/04/2016 the Egyptian organization for human rights issued its report on the 25th of April demonstrations under the title of “the return of gagging the mouths” in which EOHR tackles and analyze the 25th April 2016 demonstrations that occurred in various parts of Egypt against the maritime borders delimitation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt upon which Egypt signed a deal to hand over two Islands “Tiran and Sanfir” at Gulf of Al Aqaba to Saudi Arabia.

The report addressed the latest developments in this case as the Egyptian ministry of interior had arrested number of civilians, political Activists including journalists in light of these demonstrations; and had charged number of journalists and issued arrest warrants against those journalists which led the journalists to take their syndicate as a shelter  to protect them. As a response, the ministry of interior stormed the journalists’ syndicate as the first time in the syndicate’s history and challenged the syndicate rules of procedure and arrested two journalists and presented them before the public prosecution which led the syndicate to escalate and ask for the dismissal of the minister of interior and an official apologia from the government.

EOHR report followed the latest developments starting from the activists’ calls for demonstration against the maritime borders delimitation agreement ending by the crisis of journalists’ syndicate. Notably that this crisis is considered to be a break stone to the relation between the government and the journalists and freedom of expression. The report adopted group of essential aspects as follows:

1- Background on the latest developments:

This part tackled the political and societal actors that called for the 25th demonstrations under the motto of “Egypt isn’t for sale” that led to a friction between the security forces and the protesters.

2- The security behavior with protesters:

Report addressed the security behavior with the protesters as the security forces had has a fairly firm grip on the Egyptian downtown and banned any public gatherings or any pedestrians to the journalists’ syndicate.

The report depended on the monitored statistics of EOHR to address that 229 citizens were arrested due to their participation in the 25th April demonstration and that was centered in 3 areas of the downtown which are Al Dokki , Al Agouza and Ksr Al Nile. Firstly, in ksr Al nile district there were 117 citizens arrested, secondly, in Al Dokki the security forces arrested 87 citizens due to their participation in the demonstrations and Al Agouza police station reported 25 arrested.

3- Consequences of the crisis and storming the journalists’ syndicate:

This aspect focused on what followed the demonstrations of charging two journalists –Amr Badr Editor-in-chief, January gate and Mahmoud Al Saqa journalist, Jan gate- with whip up the Egyptian public opinion in support of inciting the public to demonstrate upon which the public prosecution issued an arrest warrant against those two journalists that was followed by storming the journalists’ syndicate to implement that decision.

The journalists’ syndicate criticized the behavior of storming the syndicate along with ignoring the interactions occurred between the ministry of interior and the syndicate for three days as a way to managing the crisis.

4- The conclusion and recommendations:

It’s clear that we are facing a real crisis with two dimensions from the starting point of calling for the peaceful demonstrations till the end of journalists’ syndicate which are 1- the right to assembly that was guaranteed in the constitution and international conventions on human right 2- the freedom of expression that was violated by the security practices toward the journalists due to their opinions.

Accordingly, the continuing use of such policies and tools that violate the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly is unreasonable and represent clear violation to all the international conventions on human rights. Consequently, the government must review the legislations and laws organizing those rights

Finally, EOHR expresses its deep concern towards the police behavior with the protesters of 25th of April and the journalists’ syndicate. Consequently, EOHR calls on the Egyptian government to adopt a quick strategy to end this crisis accordingly EOHR offers some recommendations:

1- Enactment of anew protest law that ensuring the citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and at the same time protect the citizens from the mechanism of dispersing the peaceful demonstrations.

2- Application of the human rights’ standards in dispersing the demonstrations and public gatherings including those that organizing the use of weapons and force such as:

n  Force should not be used except in extreme cases of necessity and to the minimum extent that the circumstances allow.(principle no. 13)

n   The police shall only use firearms if the purpose cannot be achieved through lesser means of intervention.(principle no.14)

n  Firearms are to be used only in self-defense or defense of others against imminent threat of death or serious injury or to prevent a particularly serious crime that involves a grave threat to life or To arrest or prevent the escape of a person posing such a threat and who is resisting efforts to stop the threat. In every case, only when less extreme measures are insufficient; Intentional  lethal  use  of  force  and  firearms  shall  be  permitted  only  when  strictly  unavoidable  in order to protect human life.(principle no.9)

3- The government should intervene to solve the syndicate’s crisis and guarantee the respect of the freedom of expression and amending the regulations and legislations organizing journalism in Egypt to guarantee the abolishment of any penalty deprived the citizen’s liberty and freedom.

 

At the end of that report a list of the names of the arrested protesters of 25th April was provided.

 

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