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.
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.
On the morning of 13 January 2015, Cairo International Airport stopped prominent women human rights defender Esraa Abdel-Fattah from embarking on a flight to Germany, and Ms. Abdel-Fattah was informed that this is a result of a travel ban issued against her by the security administration. Esraa Abdel-Fattah was not notified prior to this morning that there is a travel ban officially issued against her.
The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, MsReine Alapini-Gansou, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, MsFaith Pansy Tlakula, of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr.
On 13 September 2014, the Police Institute near Tora postponed the trial of the seven women human rights defenders until 11 October 2014. The decision to postpone was taken after the court heard the prosecution’s evidence. The defense attorneys requested the postponement in order to allow a technical expert to examine and determine the veracity of the video footage evidence presented during the session.
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.