Cairo: 9 October, 2018
The undersigned human rights organizations said they believe that the travel ban issued against human rights lawyer, founder of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and former presidential candidate, in relation to Case 173 (AKA civil society case), is a punitive and retaliatory measure for his role in exposing corruption cases and in the ruling confirming Egypt’s sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir islands. They also believe the ban is a political decision, reinforced by the investigating judge’s unconvincing remarks that are published on Mada Masr and BBC Arabic websites; as he declared he hasn’t reviewed the case’s papers yet while saying there is a suspicion that Ali is implicated in the case in association with others.
Last Saturday (October 6), Akhbar al-Youm newspaper reported that a travel ban has been imposed on Khaled Ali by investigating judge Hesham Abdel Meguid pending Case 173 of 2011, although Ali hasn’t been summoned for investigation or notified of the ban, and without even checking the case papers as asserted by the investigating judge, echoing the same situation experienced by many human rights defenders in independent institutions. They have been banned from travel, their personal accounts or the accounts of organizations they run for several years have been frozen, without conducting any investigation or notifying them with the ban. And at time the Egyptian authorities claim respect for human rights and the rule of law, they carry out retaliatory measures against independent rights activists, without counting on the statements of former investigating judge Ashraf al-Ashmawi, who shelved investigations with Egyptian human rights organizations alleging that only religious organizations received foreign funds.
It is worth mentioning that independent human rights organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging the legality and validity of the mandate of the current investigating judge Hesham Abdel Meguid to preside over the case. And instead of suspending the case until a decision has been reached regarding this lawsuit, human rights defenders are still being banned from traveling for years without being interrogated or even informed with the ban, in violation of the law and a waste of the Constitution’s provisions which state that the ban shall be issued for a cause and for a limited period.
The undersigned human rights organizations stress that they continue to support human rights and the rule of law. They also affirm that this fabricated case and its arbitrary measures will not dissuade them from working for a state that respects human rights, one that is based on the rule of law, equality, and the establishment of real justice, not a double-standard justice, adding that there is no alternative to dropping such unjust accusations or putting an end to such a retaliatory case.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR)
Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)