The following statement has been issued by Maria Arena, Chair of Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Isabel Santos, Chair of the delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and Mounir Satouri, Foreign Affairs Committee’s (AFET) standing rapporteur on Egypt;.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment issued on Monday 25 August 2020 against Bahey el-Din Hassan, prominent founding member of the Egypt’s human rights movement and Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), who has been in exile since 2014.”
“The verdict was pronounced in absentia by a Terrorist Court circuit, in application of 2018 laws on Anti Cybercrime.”
“This is so far the harshest ruling against an Egyptian rights NGO director on record and this represents a new step in a retaliatory campaign against human rights activists in Egypt and abroad. We are at a point where authorities charge with state security accusations anyone who dares to criticize them or to defend countless victims of human rights violations by the state.”
“We all know that the only evidence against Hassan is his longstanding and unwavering engagement for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms along with his strong advocacy for the independence of the judiciary both in Egypt and the region. There is therefore no other way than to immediately drop all charges and to stop any other kind of arbitrary measures against him.”
“In this context, the severe sentence in reprisal for legitimate human rights activities contradicts the very foundation of universal human rights and in addition, sets a dangerous precedent placing human rights defenders in the world at greater risk”.