Egypt: Female activists in the clutches of state security

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
On 8 May, three female activists were arrested by state security. These repeating events remind us of what happened on the dark day of the Referendum last year when state security used sexual harassment as a weapon against female journalists.
It is almost as if May is the official month for abuses against women and journalists.
On May 7th, 2006 ten activists of human rights were arrested including political activist, Asma'a Ali, and journalists Nada El-Kasab and Rasha Azab. They were demonstrating in solidarity with the judges who were referred to the disciplinary court by gathering in front of Bab El-Khalk Court to await the decision on the judges appeal of the decision to send them to the disciplinary court, which was held at the South Cairo Court Upon their arrest, the activists were taken to the Darb El-Ahmer police station then El Saida Zeineb police station, where two were released, leaving eight activists to be sent to the Public Prosecutor for state security in the middle of the night.

When ECWR went to the El Saida Zeineb station to inquire about the detainees, they denied their presence in the jail in order to keep them from consulting with a lawyer. Subsequently, the activists were accused by the Public Prosecutor of the following:
  • Holding a sit-in and organizing demonstrations, endangering public security;
  • Slandering the President;
  • Disrupting the traffic;
  • Humiliating police and abusing them.
State security refused to let the Public Prosecutor question all those who were accused and referred them to a judge for investigation, although the Public Prosecutor had previously decided to arrest the detainees and keep them in jail for 15 days for investigative purposes.

ECWR regrets this tragic and unjust situation, which resembles the day of the constitutional referendum in May 2005 when women journalists were sexually harassed by policemen in the street, a violation of the right of all citizens, especially women, to hold peaceful demonstrations and express their opinions, as guaranteed in the constitution and international conventions.

ECWR therefore demands the detainees be immediately paroled.