The international condemnation campaign has escalated over the arrest of 3 officials from the prominent human rights organization “the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights,” while the Egyptian Foreign Ministry considered these criticisms “an attempt to influence the investigations with these Egyptian citizens.”
In separate statements, the United Nations, Amnesty International, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Ireland expressed grave concern about these arrests, calling on the Egyptian authorities to release them immediately.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights announced the arrest of its executive director, Jasser Abdel Razek, by Egyptian security, making him the third official in the human rights organization to be arrested within 5 days.
The initiative said that the State Security Prosecution decided to imprison Abdel Razek for 15 days on charges of joining a terrorist group and broadcasting false statements.
On Wednesday, the non-governmental organization announced the arrest of Karim Annara, director of the criminal justice unit, in addition to the organization’s administrative director, Mohamed Bashir.
The initiative said that its members were asked during the investigation about a number of ambassadors accredited in Egypt visiting its headquarters in Cairo earlier this month to hold a meeting that discussed ways to support the human rights situation in Egypt.
In the latest international move, about 200 academic and human rights figures around the world called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release the detainees.
The signatories to the petition expressed their deep concern about the escalating crackdown launched by the Egyptian authorities against civil society organizations in recent days.
The statement called on the Egyptian government to immediately release the employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and to stop all politically motivated investigations against civil society organizations in the country.
In Washington, Anthony Blinken, a senior adviser to US President-elect Joe Biden, and a potential candidate for the post of Secretary of State, expressed concern about the arrests campaign.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Kill Brown also expressed grave concern over the arrest of a third employee of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and Coptic activist Rami Kamel.
Brown urged the Egyptian government to release these detainees and respect basic freedoms of expression and association.
A source of concern
For its part, the European Union criticized the Egyptian authorities’ arrest of the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and two of its employees in Cairo during the past few days.
The European Union said in a statement that these developments constitute a source of great concern that the European Union conveyed to the Egyptian authorities.
And he considered that the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights provides a very important basic service to the Egyptian people by promoting political, civil, economic and social rights, and focusing on personal rights and freedoms.
He stressed that providing a space for civil society, and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element in the relations between Egypt and the European Union.
On the other hand, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez rejected what he described as an attempt to influence the investigations that the Public Prosecution is conducting with Egyptian citizens facing charges.
Hafez said that what he described as false conclusions were published about the arrest of a number of employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which preceded the results of the investigations conducted by the Egyptian judicial authorities in this regard.
Hafez emphasized that the Egyptian state respects the principles of the rule of law and equality before it, and that freedom of private work is guaranteed in Egypt by laws that regulate work in any field.
He also stressed that no category of persons enjoys immunity for their work in a specific field. And he called for respecting the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in Egyptian internal affairs.
Violations in a women’s prison
In a related human rights context, the Egyptian human rights organization “We Record” has documented several violations, which it said were the first of their kind in years inside a women’s prison in the city of Qanater in Qalyubia governorate.
The organization said that a force from the Prisons Authority, accompanied by the head of the prison investigation, stormed the ward of detainees pending political cases.
The organization added that the force assaulted some of the detainees, in addition to dragging one of them and wounding her.