UPDATE: Women Human Rights Defenders Referred to Heliopolis Misdemeanor Court

Press Release

26 Jun 2014

On 25 June 2014, the Heliopolis Public Prosecution transferred the case of the seven detained women human rights defenders to the Heliopolis Misdemeanor Court and the first court session will be held on 29 June 2014.

The seven women human rights defenders are Yara Sallam, Sanaa Seif, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo) and Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh). The seven aforementioned women human rights defenders were arrested on 21 June 2014 along with others for protesting peacefully against the Protest and Public Assembly Law.

Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif are both prominent women human rights defender. Yara Sallam is a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and she was awarded the North Africa Shield 2013 for her work in Egypt with Nazra for Feminist Studies. Amongst the other women human rights defenders arrested are Fikreya Mohamed and Salwa Mihriz who are both activists from the Mahalla (Gharbia governorate). Salwa Mihriz works specifically on the rights of the wounded and the wikithawra documentation initiative.

On 24 June 2014, the aforementioned seven women human rights defenders were transferred to Qanatir Prison and the male detainees were transferred to Tora Prison. This followed the extension of their detention on 23 June 2014 by the prosecution by four days, while one individual was released on bail.

The charges that have been directed at the women human rights defenders along with the other persons arrested have been updated as follows: (1) Participating in an unauthorized demonstration whose aim was to stop the implementation of the law and influence the effectiveness of the public authorities during the carrying out of their work. The possession of safeguards and tools that could cause death if they had been used as weapons; (2) Organizing a demonstration without prior notice as stipulated by the law and the participation in a demonstration that breached and threatened public security and the interests of citizens and disrupted transportation and transgressed public and private property; (3) The use of force and violence to terrorize and intimidate citizens; (4) The deliberate destruction of property owned by the aggrieved party as proven through investigations.

Nazra for Feminist Studies condemns the continued detention of the aforementioned women human rights defenders along with other detainees in the same case. It is believed that it is directly related to their legitimate activities in defense of human rights and for peacefully protesting against the Protest and Public Assembly Law. Nazra for Feminist Studies reiterates its call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditional release the women human rights defenders and the other detainees and drop all charges directed at them stemming from the legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

For further information on this case, please refer to Nazra for Feminist Studies’ urgent appeal on the case dated 22 June 2014.