Today, just one day after we delivered a tribute women human rights defenders attacked for their activism, we received news from Algerian activist Cherifa Kheddar that she was assaulted by police and arrested along with several other members of her organization while trying to demonstrate in front of the Central Post Office on International Women's Day in Algiers.
I find myself helpless, but to repeat the sentence most of her loved ones and colleagues used during the last 8 months: "I can't believe that Yara in prison". The Pan-African Woman Human Rights Defender and prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Yara Sallam was detained while protesting the controversial “protest law” in Egypt, in June last year. "We used to send her the urgent calls for actions and ask her for help to campaign for WHRDs in detention in all over Africa and the Arab region. But now, do we have to campaign for her? How could we possibly do that? Should we copy her in the emails?" Those were the questions that popped up inside my head when I first read the news.
As international networks and organisations concerned with equality between all citizens before the law, standing for secularism as prevention of communalism, we are closely following and monitoring the case against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and husband Javed Anand in India.
يظن المرء إنه بحكم عمله في مجال حقوق الإنسان فهو متعاطف بالفطرة مع المقموعين وسجناء الرأي وضحايا الدولة البوليسية، إلا أن الأمر يختلف تمامًا عندما يتم اعتقال شخص قريب منك، شخص تعرفه وتعرف كيف يقضي يومه في الأحوال العادية، حينها فقط تتحول حياتك إلى جحيم فتتساءل في كل دقيقة كيف يقضي ذلك الشخص القابع في السجون ساعات النهار والليل الطوال؟ ما الذي يُهِّون عليه الحر؟ هل يجد ما يكفي من الأكل؟ هل لديه شهية للأكل؟ كيف ينام؟
As a member of the Women Human Rights Defender International Coalition (WHRDIC), WLUML condemns the killing of Shaimaa El Sabbagh and calls on the Egyptian government to investigate her murder, and to drop charges against all witnesses.
The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Ms Reine Alapini-Gansou, has been informed of the sentence handed down on appeal against human rights defenders Yara Sallam, Sanaa Seif and 21 other co-accused on Sunday, 28 December 2014, in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The Special Rapporteur condemns the sentence which runs completely counter to the principles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), and other regional and international instruments duly ratified by Egypt.