Earlier this summer, Ghoncheh Ghavami stood outside Tehran's majestic Azadi (freedom) stadium, wearing a white scarf and holding up a placard.
With Hassan Rouhani promising a more moderate stance in Iran, she wanted to enter the stadium alongside male fans, hoping that the Islamic republic's ban on women attending big sporting events would finally be over.
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition has grave concerns for the wellbeing of Ms Sanaa Seif, a prominent Egyptian Woman Human Rights Defender, who began a hunger strike on 28 August 2014 to protest the Protest and Public Assembly Law. Ms Seif is currently being held in Qanater prison.
Ms Seif was one of seven women defenders who were arrested on 21 June 2014 while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of the law, which essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.
Yara Sallam, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh) also remain in custody awaiting trial, which has been set for 13 September 2014.
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC) condemns the arrest of seven women human rights defenders in Cairo on 21st June 2014.
Yara Sallam, Sanaa Seif, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed, and 15 other activists were arrested by the Egyptian authorities while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of Egypt’s army-backed Protest and Public Assembly Law. Law 107 of 2013 essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.
Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was spared a death sentence for apostasy and then barred from leaving Sudan, met Pope Francis on Thursday after arriving in Rome to jubilant scenes following intense international efforts to free her.
In an unprecedented statement, over forty senior academics including more than a dozen former presidents of the most important professional association for scholars of the Arab and larger Muslim world, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), have signed a letter to US President Obama and Secretary State John Kerry calling for the Administration to demand the immediate release of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah and other political detainees in Egypt, for Egyptian officials to suspend the protest law of 2013 and end the repression of free speech rights guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and international law, and end the regime of violence, including torture and extra judicial execution, that still governs Egypt after the electoral victory of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as President. Even as Iraq is engulfed by violence and Syria continues its brutal civil war, these scholars and officials, with literally centuries of experience in Egypt and the broader region between them, warn that growing political violence in Egypt epitomized by the recent reimprisonment of Alaa Abdel Fattah and ongoing rights abuses, risks permanently destabilizing Egypt, and with it, the region more broadly. They call upon the Obama administration to suspend non-humanitarian military, security, political, and economic cooperation with Egypt until the government heeds these demands.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is shocked by today's decision by the Heliopolis Misdemeanor Court to keep the organization's transitional justice officer, Yara Sallam, and 22 others behind bars, while their trial on charges of breaching the draconian protest law and other accusations including damaging property and displaying force continues. The charges relate to a peaceful protest on 21 June in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, which was forcibly dispersed by security forces aided by unknown assailants in civilian dress.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Africa is deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of human rights defenders in Egypt, including Sanaa Seif, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Rania El-Sheikh, Nahid Sherif, Fikreya Mohamed and Yara Sallam, a winner of the human rights defenders’ award for North Africa in October 2013.