The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
“Lawyers for Democracy” initiative
The democratic path in Egypt during the second quarter of 2018
Before we begin,
The democratic path is a report that the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) is launching every three months – quarterly – in 2018. ANHRI used to publish it monthly in previous years through the “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative launched by ANHRI in 2014, to monitor the democratic process in Egypt.
In addition to the monthly reports issued to monitor the state of democracy, ANHRI issued annual reports to monitor the democratic path in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 which can be accessed through the “Reports” section on ANHRI’s website by clicking on the following link:
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed a remarkable increase and expansion in investigations into case No. 173 of 2011, known as the human rights organizations case. Manifold prominent lawyers and employees working in independent human rights institutions have been summoned and interrogated, and later released on a considerably high bail. This is in addition to the arrest of notable human rights defenders, like blogger and journalist Wael Abbas and lawyer Haitham Mohamaden.
During April, May and June there was a considerable decline in terrorist operations, compared to the period in which the democratic path had been monitored since the launching of Lawyers for Democracy initiative in 2014. Only three terrorist operations have been observed, one of which was thwarted, and they were all carried out in the province of North Sinai.
The second quarter of the year also witnessed 108 protests organized by various political powers. As is the case for the first quarter, social and labor protests were at the forefront with 64 different events staged, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) that organized 40 protest events.
As for the attacks on freedom of expression and media freedoms, it witnessed a slight increase comparing to the first quarter of the year, with 27 violations recorded during the second quarter, most of which were linked to the investigations by the prosecution and the ongoing trials.
The military judiciary, furthermore, presided over 17 trials for 1155 civilians during the reporting period. This is in addition to 3 death penalties issued for 49 defendants, including one military verdict handed down against 36 civilians.
Here are details of the state of the democratic process during the first quarter of 2018, in numbers, percentages and details:
First: protest events
During the second quarter of the year, the various forces organized 108 different events, and their distribution was as follows:
- Social and labor protests: 64.
- The Muslim Brotherhood and the Coalition to Support Legitimacy: 40.
- Student protests: 3.
- Civil democratic forces: 1
- While the first quarter of 2018 didn’t witness any pro-regime protest events
Each of April and May witnessed 34 protest events, comparing to January which witnessed 54 events making it the month that witnessed the biggest number of protests during the first quarter of the year. The details are in the following lines:
Out of these events; 18 were attacked by security forces, 74 went on without attacks, and 5 cases were negotiated.
Labor and social protests:
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed the organization of 64 different social and labor protests; 9 of which were attacked by the security forces, whereas 50 passed without interference, and 5 were resolved after negotiations with their organizers.
The most important demands brought by the social and labor protests:
- A number of workers protest the termination of their contracts and suspension from work.
- Protesting the non-payment of financial dues and annual earnings.
- The demands by the inhabitants of ‘Ezbet El-Saydeen’ region in Damietta to validate their homes’ conditions
- Protesting over high prices
- Protesting against seizing state lands.
- Fishermen in Hurghada protest the decision to ban fishing in the Red Sea.
- Protesting against the contamination of drinking water in Minia Governorate
- A number of workers demand installation in their jobs
- Protesting against poor social and living conditions.
Protest events of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL):
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed the organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Alliance to Support Legitimacy of 40 different protests, including 13 that were attacked by the security forces, while 27 passed without security intervention, and none of them was subject to negotiation.
The most important demands raised by Muslim Brotherhood and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy:
- Demanding the toppling of Al-Sisi and the fall of the military regime.
- Demanding the release of detainees affiliated to MB and NASL
- Demanding retribution for the victims of Raba’a al-Adawiya sit-in dispersal
- Protesting against the inaction of the Egyptian authorities towards the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem
- Protesting against poor economic conditions
Student’s protest events:
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed 3 protests organized by students. Security forces have not attacked any of them
- Students of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sadat City demanding to provide safe transportation means to the building of their faculty
- Students of the Faculty of Medical and Applied Sciences at the University of Beni Suef objecting the amendments to the College Statutes.
- Students of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Pharos University objecting the changing of the job title of the faculty’s graduates, as it is changed from “Specialist” to ” Technician”
The civil democratic powers’ events:
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed Al-Tagammu party’s members staging a candlelight vigil at the party’s headquarters, in solidarity with the “Great Return March” campaigns organized by the Palestinian people. The event was not subject to any attacks.
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed 81 trial cases in front of the Egyptian Judiciary. Of these there were 19 rulings of conviction, 4 acquittals, and death sentences against 49 defendants.
- The distribution of the 81 ongoing trials is as follows:
- 61 trials for the MB & NASL.
- 9 trials of the civil and democratic powers.
- 7 trials for members of Mubarak’s regime.
- 4 trials for members of the post June 30th regime.
- 3 trials in other cases related to public affairs.
- The military judiciary considered 17 trials for civilians.
The most prominent trials of the MB and NASL:
The cases known in the media as (Rabaa sit-in dispersal, Al-Zeitoun 1st cell, Al-Istiqama mosque incidents, Al-Nahda sit-in dispersal, harming the national economy, Kerdasa center storming, specific committees, Tanta terrorist cell, Al-Maadi violence incidents, Media Production City violence incidents, storming prisons, Guidance office incidents, setting fire to Kafr Hakim Church)
The most important trials of Mubarak regime figures:
The cases known in the media as; (Profiteering case against the heirs of the former secretary general of Mubarak, the trial of Zuhair Garana in the case of companies’ licenses, the corruption and the Ministry of Interior, the illegal gain case against Safwat al-Sharif and his son, manipulating the stock exchange, the “al-Hizam al-Akhdar (Green Belt)”
The most important trials of civil rights defenders are:
The cases known in the media as; (The Tambourine Detainees, Downtown oppressed, cabinet case)
The most prominent trials of members of the regime after June 30th:
The cases known in the media as; (Torturing “Afrotto” to death)
Military trials of civilians:
In the second quarter of 2018, the military judiciary held 17 trials for 1155 civilians.
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed the issuance of 19 convictions and 4 acquittals. The details are as follows:
During the second quarter, the Egyptian judiciary issued 19 convictions, distributed as follows:
- 14 rulings against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy.
- 1 ruling in the cases of civil democratic forces
- 1 trial in other cases related to public affairs.
- 3 rulings in military trials for civilians
While no convictions were handed down to members of the Mubarak regime or the post-June 30 regime
During the second quarter, 4 acquittals were issued, distributed as follows::
- 3 of the MB and NASL
- 1 in military trial of civilians
Three death sentences were issued against 49 defendants during the second quarter of 2018; as follows:
|Number of issued sentences||Death Sentences pending the religious opinion of the Mufti||Death sentences confirmed after referral to the Mufti||Total convictions with death penalties|
Third Violence and Terrorism:
The second quarter of 2018 witnessed a total of 3 terrorist operations all of them were in North Sinai governorate, along with 7 counter-terrorism operations, detailed as follows:
Three terrorist attacks in the second quarter of the year, which is considered the lowest number that has been recorded since the launch of the Democratic Path report in 2014. Two of which exploded, while the security forces succeeded in diffusing one bomb. The operations resulted in 14 wounded and 7 killed.
The following table shows figures and distribution of injured and killed:
|Number of killed||1||1||0||2|
|Number of wounded||0||1||0||1|
During the second quarter of the year there were 7 preemptive attacks by the security forces which targeted what the security forces described as terrorism hubs, resulting in the killing of 63, and the arrest of 627 others.
Fourth: Attacks Against Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom :
The second quarter of the year witnessed 27 violations against freedom of expression and media freedom.
Detailed as follows:
|Ongoing trials & interrogations||25|
|Administrative penalties and termination of work||1|
Fifth: Attacks against Human Rights Defenders:
– On April 11, human rights defender Dr. Magdy Abdel-Hamid appeared before the investigating judge presiding over the NGOs case No. 173 of 2011 for investigation. The judge ordered his release, while summoning him to an investigation session on 17 April 2018; to continue his interrogation and let him submit documents before he ordered his release again.
– During its hearing convened on Tuesday 24 April, the Military Misdemeanors Court sentenced Judge Hesham Genena, former head of the Central Auditing Organization, to 5 years in prison, after he was charged with insulting the state against the backdrop of giving statements to “HuffPost Arabi” news website.
– On 24 April, South Cairo Criminal Court fined novelist and journalist Ahmed Nagy LE 20,000 following a retrial on a charge of publishing a novel that violates public decency. The Public Prosecution had appealed the first-degree ruling acquitting Nagy, and the court decided to accept the appeal and sentenced the novelist to two years in jail as well as a fine of LE 10,000. Then, Nagy challenged the ruling before the Court of Cassation which, in turn, upheld the appeal and ordered his retrial. Finally, the prison sentence issued against him has been rescinded and replaced by a fine.
– On Saturday 12 May, the Egyptian security forces arrested 10 citizens from Helwan Metro Station, 6 others from Maadi station, 4 from Qasr El Nile, 2 from Al-Matryia and some others; against the backdrop of protesting the recent hike in metro fares.
Defendants arrested from Helwan metro station appeared before Helwan Prosecution on Sunday 13 May into the case No. 13119 of 2018 Helwan Misdemeanors. Charges of assembly, protest, and the disruption of a public facility was brought against them. The prosecution then decided to detain them for 4 days pending investigations, before Helwan Misdemeanors Court ordered their release ensuring their place of residence.
As for the rest of the people arrested, they appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution in the communique No. 718 of 2018 (Supreme State Security). They are accused of: joining a terrorist group that was established contrary to the provisions of the law, demonstrating, obstructing traffic flow, and disrupting a public facility. They were then ordered to be imprisoned for 15 days pending probe, and their incarceration has been renewing over consecutive decisions by the State Security Prosecution. All of them are still being held on remand, except for Asmaa Abdel-Hamid who was ordered to be released by the criminal court, after she appealed the prosecution’s detention renewal decision.
– On dawn Friday, May 11, a security force raided the house of activist Amal Fathy and arrested her, along with her husband- head of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms Mohamed Lotfy- and their three-year-old son.
Fathy was detained at Maadi police station, before Lotfy and his son were released later. Then, she was referred to the Maadi Prosecution which interrogated her on a charge of: posting a video on “Facebook” to incite the overthrow of the regime, spreading false news and the misusing the Internet. The prosecution ordered her detention for 15 days pending investigations in case No. 1997 of 2018 Misdemeanors Maadi, before the prosecution ordered her release later.
And on Sunday morning, Fathy’s lawyer was staggered by her presence in the State Security Prosecution and then her appearance before the prosecution as a defendant in case No. 621 of 2018 State Security. She found herself accused of: deliberately thwarting presidential elections, raising public opinion, joining a terrorist group while being informed with its purposes, using a website on the Internet to intentionally disseminate ideas calling for the perpetration of terrorist acts, and deliberately broadcasting false news and rumors that would disturb public security and harm the public interest. The prosecution decided to detain her for 15 days pending the case, which she would serve after the end of the first case. And indeed after the release order she received in the first case, she is still remanded pending the second case.
– On Tuesday 8 May, based on a summon by the investigative judge of case 173/2011, known as the NGOs case, lawyer Rawda Ahmed from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) appeared for interrogation before the judge, who decided to postpone the investigation session to the 7th of June. And on that day, Rawda appeared before the judge who ordered her release on bail of EGP 20,000.
– On 6 May, based on a summon by the investigative judge of case 173/2011, known as the NGOs case, Mohamed Abdel Azim, former lawyer at the Egyptian Center, was interrogated before he was ordered to be released on bail of EGP 20,000.
– On 23 May, the Egyptian Security forces broke into the house of journalist and blogger Wael Abbas. They arrested him and seized his personal belongings, including his cell phones and devices. Wael was held in an unknown location until he appeared in the State Security Prosecution on Thursday, May 25. A number of his lawyers were banned from attending with him the investigation session, during which he is accused of: helping a terrorist group carrying out their plans, spreading false news, and using the social media to promote the views of that group. The prosecution decided to jail Abbas pending the case in which he is still remanded over successive imprisonment renewal orders.
– On Friday 18 May, the security forces arrested lawyer and activist Haitham Mohammedeen from his home at “Al-Saf” region. He had been detained at Al-Saf police station until he appeared before the State Security Prosecution, which charged him with: sharing a terrorist group the implementation of their purposes, demonstrating, and inciting to protest. Mohammedeen was ordered to be detained for 15 days pending the investigations in the case No. 718 of 2018 Supreme State Security AKA the metro case. He is still being held on remand based on consecutive imprisonment renewal decisions.
– On Monday, 22 May, Alaa ‘Abd al-Tawab, lawyer at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), appeared before the investigating judge presiding over the case 173 AKA NGOs case. The judge decided to release him on bail of EGP 10,000.
– On 13 June, the investigating judge mandated by the Ministry of Justice ordered the release Dr. Magda Adly, activist at Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, on bail of EGP 20,000, after being interrogated and hearing her testimony into the case 173/ 2011, which is known as the civil society organizations.
– On 20 June, the human rights defender and the director of the Nazra For Feminist Studies center, Mozn Hassan, appeared before the investigating judge mandated by the Ministry of Justice to preside over the case 173 of 2011. The judge ordered Hassan’s release on bail of EGP 30,000 pending probe.
Note: This report is based on the cases monitored by ANHRI and does not necessarily include all events in the month.
For the previous Democratic Path Report
For the Democratic Path Report 2014, “Obscure and stalled”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2015 “One step back, two steps further back”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2016 “Closed until further notice”