Human rights advocates status in Egypt 2019




This report reviews a group of violations perpetuated against a number of human rights advocates in Egypt during the period from 11th December 2018 to 10th December 2019. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information monitored various cases of violations including: jail, travel ban, physical assaults, threats, defaming propaganda.

Jail comes on the top of the violations list. Along with travel ban, financial confiscations and preservations, physical assaults, defaming, death threats, pretrial arrests and forced disappearance.

The report also monitors and documents advocates who won international prizes this year for their activities despite the dangers they face.

Report Method

This report depends on monitoring in accordance to  cases documented by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information during 2019 or other independent human rights organizations. It covers the period from 11th December 2018 to 10th December 2019.

First: Prison and Pretrial Detention against Human Rights Advocates

Prison and jail stays at the top of the list of violations against Human Rights advocates. It  varies between renewing pretrial detention or issuing a prison verdicts. New names of human rights advocates are added to the list of the detained. The report monitors three kinds of violations concerning prison and jail section.


  • Convicting Human Rights Advocates and Verdicts:

** On 29th of December 2018, Amal Fathi, was sentenced to two years for accusations of publishing false news and broadcasting a video which included obscene words on the background of publishing a video of her complaining from sexual harassment.

** On the 9th of January 2019, activist Ahmed Doma was sentenced to 15 years and a financial penalty of 6 millions L.E. in the case known under the title of “Ministry Council”.

** On the 24th October 2019. Criminal Court canceled a three years sentence against lawyer Montaser al Zayat and Mohamed Monieb after being jailed for one year. They were fined to30 thousands L.E. and a compensation of one million L.E. in the case known under the title of “Insulting Judiciary”.


  • New Names in the Jailed List:

This year witnessed an escalation concerning imprisoning human rights advocates for their activities. As 32 of human rights advocates were imprisoned this year.

** On the 25th of January 2019, security forces arrested a number of activists and human rights advocates who were attending an event in Al Karama Political Party headquarter in homage of the January revolution’s anniversary. The arrested were: leftist pharmacist/Gamal Abdul Fattah, Lawyer/Mohab al Ebrashi, Activists/ Khaled Basyouini and Khaled Mahmoud. They all were detained until they were released with precautionary measures on 22nd July.

** On the 29th of January, security forces arrested journalist and activist Ahmed Gamal Ziada at Cairo Airport as he was returning from Tunisia. Ziada was led to an unknown place until he reappeared on 13th February. He was detained until the 2nd of March, then he was released  with a bail of 10 thousands L.E.

** On the 29th of January, engineer Yehya Hussein Abdul Hadi, founding member and former spokesman of “Civil Movement”. He is still detained.

** On the 4th of February, lawyer in “Justice center for rights and freedom”, Ahmed Moawad, was arrested from Zaqaziq court. He was detained until he was released with a bail in August.

** On the 22nd April, the security forces arrested Abir Al Safti, an activist, after refusing an obligatory vote during the constitutional referendum. She is still detained.

** On the 12th May, leftist lawyer, Haitham Mohamadein, while attending in the police station to proceed precautionary measures, was detained. He is still detained.

** On May 14th, security forces arrested activist Mostafa Maher. He is still detained.

** June 12; security forces, with civil clothes, arrested Ibrahim Ezz, a researcher in the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. He disappeared for 6 months then appeared in November 2019. He is detained now under investigations in a case.

** On the 25th of June, security forces launched an arrest campaign under a case titled “Hope Cell”. Among the arrested were: Lawyer/ Ziad Al Eleimy, journalist/ Hesham Foad, activist/ Hossam Moenes, economist/ Omar al Sheneity, human rights defender/ Hassan Barbari and others. They are all still detained.

** On 24th August, security forces arrested Manal Taibi, member  of National Council for Human Rights under the pretext of a judiciary verdict issued against her. She was released on the same day.

** On the 24th August, Zeidan Hussein, manager of Justice and Development for Human Rights Organization was arrested.

** On the 16th of September, workers rights advocate, Kamal Khalil, was arrested. He is still detained.

** On the 21st of September, National Security kidnapped blogger Mohamed Oxygen from the police station during proceeding in the precautionary measures. He disappeared for 18 days then he reappeared as a defendant in a case. He is still detained.

** On the 22nd of September, security forces kidnapped lawyer Mahinour al Masri before the State Security Prosecution building, she appeared as a defendant in a case. She is still detained.

** On the 25th of September, security forces arrested liberal journalist and politician, Khaled Dawoud. He is still detained.

** On the 27th of September, security forces arrested human rights activist, Sameh Seuodi. He is still detained.

** On the 29th September, security forces kidnapped blogger and human rights activist, Alaa Abdel Fattah, during pursuance surveillance penalty, issued against him, in the police station. He is still detained under the investigations of a case.

** On the 29th of September, security forces detained lawyer and manager of “Justice Center for Rights and Freedoms” Mohamed al Baqer, during his attendance as lawyer with defendant Alaa Abdel Fattah. Baqer was accused in the same case. He is still detained.

** On the 13th of October, Esraa Abdul Fattah, journalist and political activist, was kidnapped from her car. She appeared to be accused in a case. She is still detained.

** On the 16th October, security forces arrested Amr Imam, lawyer in the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. He is still detained.

** On November 5th, Ibrahim Metwalli, lawyer and human rights advocate, was interrogated under a new case, after two weeks of illegal detention. He is still detained.

** On 21st November, workers rights advocate, Khalil Rizq Khalil, was arrested. He is still detained.

** On November 25th, Rami Kamel, a human rights activist, concerned with Christians rights in Egypt, was arrested. He is still detained.

** On November 26th, security forces arrested three journalists: Solafa Magdi, her husband: Hossam al Sayyad and Mohamed Salah. They are still detained.


  • Continuation of Pretrial Detention:

State Security cases this year exceeded 1500. Mostly they are not referred to judiciary. Nevertheless, the detention under the pretext of these cases are continuously resumed during the legal period – two years – to legalize the political detention. Sometimes, the pretrial detention exceeds the legal period. We monitor 19 cases in this report.


** December 30th 2018, the resumption of the detention of: Maassoum Marzouq, former Foreign Minister Deputy, Dr. Raed Salama, Dr. Yahya Qazaz, political activists/ Sameh Seuodi, Amr Mohamed, Abdul Fattah al Banna and Nermin Hussein. Their detention continued until May 20, 2019, as the General Prosecutor issued a decree to release them under the guarantee of their residence, except Sameh Seuodi and Amr Mohamed who were released later on May 30, with precautionary measures.

** On the 5th of January 2019, detention was resumed against journalist and director of Mada for Development institution, Hesham Gaafar, for  45 days. The renewal was issued by Cairo Criminal Court. He was detained until 26th May 2019, then he was released with measures. After the decision of release was issued, Gaafar was illegally detained until the 6th of April 2019 on which he was released. Gaafar was detained since October 2015. His detention exceeded the legal period as he was detained for 4 years without a trial.

** January 8, 2019. Resumption of pretrial detention against Dr. Shadi al Ghazali Harb who is detained since 15th May 2018. He is still detained.

** January 9, 2019. The renewal of detention of lawyer Ahmed Sabri Abo Alam until he was released with precautionary measures on 22nd July 2019. Abo Alam was detained since October 2018.

** On the 9th of January, the pretrial detention of Sayed Al Banna was renewed. He is detained since October 2018.

** On the 13th of January, the pretrial detention of Ayman Abdul Moti was renewed. He is still detained since 18th October 2018.

** January 14, the renewal of the pretrial detention of dentist and human rights activist, Walid Shawki. He is still detained since October 2018.

** January 22nd, renewal of pretrial detention against lawyer Mohamed Ramadan. Still detained since December 2018.

** January 22nd, renewal of pretrial detention for blogger Mohamed Oxygen. He is still detained since September 2019. And renewal of the detention of Sherif al Rubi. He was released later in July 2019.

** February 3rd, renewal of pretrial detention of Mohamed Adel, political and human rights activist, detained after being arrested during pursuance of a surveillance penalty. He is still detained since a year and a half.

** On the 11th of February, a decision of renewing the detention of comedian Shadi Abo Zeid, detained since May 2018. Still under detention.

** November 4th, a renewal of detention issued against lawyer Amr Nohan. Detained since June 2019.

Second: Advocates Banned from Traveling:

  • Added Names to the Travel Ban List

Egyptian authorities issued a huge number of travel ban decisions against a number of human rights defenders in Egypt. Around 93 travel ban cases were documented this year. They are all included in “Hope Cell” case. Among the banned: lawyer Ziad Al Eleimy, journalist Hesham Foad, Hossam Moenes, economist Omar Al Sheneity and human rights activist Hassan Barbari.


  • Appeals against travel ban:

On November 17, 2019, Cairo Criminal Court postponed an appeal submitted by 14 human rights defenders. Among them were: Gamal Eid, Azza Soleiman, Mozn Hassan, Nasser Amin, Ahmed Ragheb, Alaa Abdul Tawab, Mohamed Zaree, Hossam Bahgat, Esraa Abdul Fattah, Malek Adly and others. The mentioned were banned from traveling on the background of a case titled: “Closure of Civil Society”.


Third: Precautionary Measures are Security Surveillance under a Judiciary Cover

( 6 advocates)

The Egyptian regime imposes precautionary measures on most of the political detainees on releasing them after a period of pretrial detention. Precautionary measures are applied through spending a determined period on determined dates in the police station nearby the detained residence. Though precautionary measures used to be a better option than detention, nevertheless, the regime uses it vastly in order to be a security surveillance under a judiciary cover. A number of human rights defenders were re-detained while proceeding  precautionary measures. Some of them were interrogated about their Facebook accounts and their opinions by the State Security.

** On the 5th of January 2019, precautionary measures imposed on Haitham Mohamadein, a leftist lawyer, were mitigated to one day a week. On the 16th of May, security forces detained him during proceeding precautionary measures imposed on him.

** On the 15th of January 2019, precautionary measures against blogger and human rights defender Wael Abbas were renewed as he is obliged to spend two hours in the police station nearby his residence.

** On the 13th of April, Hossam al Sweifi, journalist, was released with precautionary measures as he is obliged to attend in the police station two days a week.

** On 11th May 2019, the court mitigated the precautionary measures to one day a week in the police station.

** July 27th, precautionary measures were renewed against Dr. Gamal Abdul Fattah as he is obliged to attend in the police station one day a week.

** August 27th, court mitigated the precautionary measures imposed on writer Hassan Hussein to be once a week.

** November 25, precautionary measures imposed on lawyer Ahmed Sabri Abo Alam were mitigated to attend once a week in the police station.

Forth: Police aggression and physical assaults

(5 defenders)

The year 2019 witnessed assaults against human rights defenders, like police aggression in the street, degrading treatment, torture and kidnapping. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information documented a number of violations:


Fractured ribs and theft

** On 10th October, al Maadi district witnessed a crime committed against the human rights defender, lawyer and executive director of the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information, Gamal Eid. As he was attacked by a thug who stole his cellphone and tried to steel his suitcase through hitting him with the heel of a pistol saying: leave this suitcase Gamal.

A number of citizens crowded so that the thug tried to escape with another person as the latter was waiting for him with a motorcycle. The thug shot in the air to terrify the citizens who, nevertheless, kept chasing him. Therefore he was obliged to jump, with his friend, from the motorcycle and escape. While they were escaping Gamal’s cellphone slipped from the thug and fell on the ground. Concurrently, a man, along with two personnels, holding a walkie-talkie appeared claiming that he is a police officer. This man took the cellphone from citizens and ordered one of his assistants to ride the motorcycle. They claimed that they will take Gamal Eid to the police station with their micro-bus.

They took him away from the crowd and asked him to go to the police station and they will follow him. It appeared that those people has nothing to do with Basatin police station.

This crime follows another one carried out against Eid, as his car was stolen in a very suspicious way. He reported the crime to the police yet no results were reached. Despite the legal complaints and reports submitted to the police, the complaints were reserved without investigations.

The Arabic Network issued a statement condemning reserving the complaints, therefore, Basatin prosecution reopened the investigations on 13th November 2019.


Kidnapping and torture against a journalist:

** On 12th October, a number of security forces personnels with civil clothes kidnapped the human rights activist and journalist, Esraa Abdul Fattah from her car. She was led into an unknown place. 24 hours later she appeared in State Security prosecution. She proved in the session that she was tortured at State Security headquarter. She demanded to be medically checked to prove torment. Esraa announced that she is going into a hunger strike in demanding to open investigation on what she went through as she was tortured, beaten, threatened, obliged to stand on feet for hours with tying her hands into the wall up to her head.


Destroying a Car by an Organized Mafia

** On 31st October, Rawda Ahmed, a lawyer in the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, reported a complaint after her car was destroyed by security forces. The car was with the director of the Network that day. It was attacked by a number of persons carrying walkie-talkies and guns who destroyed the car.


Inhuman and degrading treatment

** November 26th, security forces kidnapped journalists: Solafa Magdi, her husband Hossam al Sayyad and their friend Mohamed Salah. They were leaving a coffee shop walking to their car. Security forces stole their car. When the three appeared before the prosecution next day, their lawyers proved that Solafa underwent inhuman and degrading treatment by State Security.


Physical and Moral Torture:

When he appeared before State Security Prosecution, Ibrahim Ezz, researcher in the Egyptian Commission, proved that he underwent physical and moral torture during his detention at State Security headquarter. His lawyers published his testimony as he said that he was a subject to “physical and moral torture, he was terrified and threatened with death. He was obliged to write confessions. He was detained under inhuman conditions. He underwent deprivation of sleep and food, which increased his physical, moral and mental sufferings. He was beaten in his productive organs. He was blindfolded and confined in a solitary cell of three meters space for 45 days. Daily he was terrified, starved and deprived from sleeping along with electricity torture and beating. He was obliged to lift his arms up continuously and threatened to undergo more torture if he lowered his arms. For four days he had to lift his arms up with no one minute rest. Lately he was allowed to rest his arms for two hours a day. He was allowed to eat one meal only. He was also threatened that he will never see day light anymore and new confessions were took from him under torture.

Ezz was transferred to another building that is 20 minutes far from the first. Most probably it is Abbassya State Security headquarter. He was interrogated and the investigator threatened him saying: you don’t worth more than a bullet, I did it many times. You did not experience our real torture, but you will if you don’t talk.” His hands were tied with a steel chain hanged on the wall while he was blindfolded most of the time. The officers used to call him “number 2” instead of calling his name.


Fifth: Forced Disappearance and Illegal Detention

Egyptian security followed the same pattern in most of the arrest cases against human rights defenders and activists; the detained disappears for 24 to 48 hours without contacting his family or his lawyer and without knowing the place of detention. Three cases of human rights defenders underwent forced disappearance. What is so called “waiting for state security signal” was monitored; a process which is illegal but turned into a routine. After releasing an accused in cases related to state security, security forces wait for the state security signal, which turns the released into a re-detained. The report monitors such cases.


  • Forced Disappearance

** Ibrahim Ezz, a researcher in the Egyptian Commission for Freedoms underwent forced disappearance for 6 months after being kidnapped by security forces with civil cloths. He appeared to be accused in a case. He is still detained.

** Ahmed Gamal Ziada, a journalist, disappeared for two weeks after being kidnapped by security forces from Cairo Airport on 29th January while returning from Tunisia. He appeared before state security prosecution. Lately he was released with a bail.

** Mohamed Al Hafez, a lawyer in Freedom of Thought and Expression Organization, disappeared for 24 hours after being kidnapped from Alexandria Criminal Court surroundings.

  • Illegal detention

** Ibrahim Metwalli, a lawyer and a founder of Victims of Forced Disappearance Association, underwent illegal detention for two weeks after being released in case no. 900 year 2017 with the guarantee of his residence. After being illegally detained he was referred to be accused in another case.

** Mohamed Oxygen, blogger and journalist, was detained illegally for 18 days in al Maadi state security headquarter. He appeared then before the prosecution to be accused in a new case.

Sixth: It is their Money, but they are forbidden to act

  • Banning of financial act is one of the regime’s tools to put pressure on human rights defenders. It is a continuous pattern. Number of people who are banned of financial act increases this year after the 4th of August verdict. Cairo Criminal Court issued a verdict to support the General Prosecution’s decision of money reservation against defendants of “Hope Cell” case. Among them: Ziad al Eleimy, lawyer, Hesham Foad, journalist, Hossam Moenes, economist Omar Al Sheneity and human rights defender Hassan Barbari.
  • Courts are considering another appeal to put money of Dr. Hassan Nafaa, Dr. Hazem Hosni and journalist Khaled Dawoud under reservation.

Seventh: Being a Human Rights Advocate could Jeopardize your Career

This year, three human rights advocates were referred to the disciplinary committee for  taking legal measures. Another positive verdict was issued as it rejected a demand to refer two judges to the disciplinary committee under accusations of cooperation with lawyer Negad al Boraie to prepare a draft law against torture.


  • Referring to a Disciplinary Committee

Negative Verdict

On the 5th of January 2019, Cairo Criminal Court, decided to refer three lawyer to the disciplinary committee for their withdrawal from a trial that did not include a fair trial conditions, and they are: Mohamed Al Baqer, manager of “Justice for Rights and Freedom Center”, Ahmed Abdullatif a lawyer in the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Shorouk Sallam from Beladi Institution.

  • Referring to Validity

Positive Verdict

On the 1st of October, the prosecution appeal was rejected on rejecting two judges, Hesham Raouf and Assem Abdul Gabbar, to the validity.


Eighth: Defaming and Inciting to Murder

Defaming propaganda is escalated against human rights defenders in Egypt reaching to the incite of murder.

Those who lead these defaming campaigns are not only immune but also supported by the state. As such campaigns are launched by the state media outlets. Despite filing complaints and reports to the General Prosecutor to stop defaming campaigns, yet, the propaganda is expanding to reach most human rights defenders, activists, journalists and freedom defenders.


The propaganda targeted more than () among them:

  • Exiled Defenders

Bahie Al Deen Hassan, Amr Waked and Khaled Abul Naga/actors, Rasha Qandil/anchor, Tamer Abo Arab, Salma Al Dali, Belal Fadl/writer, Khaled Fahim/academic figure, Alaa Al Aswani/novelist, Taqadum Al Khatib/academic figure, Assad Taha/journalist, Aya Hegazi.


  • Defenders who are STILL in Egypt
  • Human Rights Defenders: Mohamed Lotfi, Gamal Eid, Aida Seif Al Dawla, Azza Soleiman, Mohamed Zaree, Gasser Abdul Raziq, Khaled Ali, Ziad Al Eleimy, Negad Al Boraie, George Eshak, Nasser Amin, Mona Seif, Laila Soueif, Alaa Abdul Fattah, Sanaa Seif
  • Journalists: Khaled Al Balshi, Mahmoud Kamel, Hesham Younis, Hossam Bahgat, Hesham Fouad, Hossam Moenis, Esraa Abdul Fattah, Hafez al Mirazi, Mohamed Saad Abdul Hafiz, Amr Badr, Khaled Dawoud, Hamdein Sabahi, Ahmed Tantawi-a parlimaint member.
  • Organizations underwent defaming: Al Nadim, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Women’s issues Institution, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Beladi Institution, Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies.
  • Websites and Press: Al Masry al Youm and Mada Masr.

Nineth: International Prizes form Hope Despite of Everything

  • A prestigious human rights prize for Nadim Center

Despite the siege perpetuated by the Egyptian regime. However, al Nadim Center, which was closed since 2017, was able to carry on its activities to support and rehabilitate torture victims so that it received an international prize, which is the Franco German Prize for Human Rights, year 2019. The prize is granted by the French and German governments to human rights fighters worldwide. The center is represented by: Dr. Aida Seif Al Dawla, Dr. Suzan Fayad, Dr. Magda Adly and Dr. Mona Hamed.

  • Human rights activist Amal Fathi, despite sentencing her to two years, yet, she received Bruno Krasniqi for brave act in defending women’s rights and human rights in Egypt.



Violations and Number of defenders underwent it table:


no. Violation s
56 Jail verdicts and pretrial detention 1
96 Added names to ban travel list 2
6 Precautionary measures and security surveillance 3
5 Torture, degrading treatment, assaults and aggression 4
5 Forced Disappearance and illegal detention 5
5 Ban of money act 6
3 Referring to the disciplinary 7
60 Defaming and inciting to murder 8
233 Total number of defenders underwent violations


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