Rise in Egyptian Arrests Highlights Continued Crackdown on Human Rights

Jasser Abdelrzaek. Credit – Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Egyptian police on November 19 raided the Cairo home of Mr Jasser Abdelrzaek, CEO of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and arrested him. He has since been charged with “using the internet to spread false accusations.” The arrest marks the latest in a series of concerning developments for human rights in the country.

Earlier armed police on November 15 stormed the home of Mr Abdelrzaek’s colleague Mohammad Bashir, the EIPR’s director. Mr Bashir was interrogated about his meetings with foreign diplomats who visited the EIPR offices in Cairo, and charged with “joining a terrorist organisation and threatening national security,” according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (www.csw.org) .

CSW said the arrests of these individuals are a worrying indication that the country’s ongoing crackdown on human rights is intensifying. The EIPR is one of the few human rights organisations still operating in Egypt. The organisation works on several human rights issues, including freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and gender equality.

In a seemingly related development, on November 18 police arrested Karim Anara, the Director of the Criminal Justice Unit, while he was on holiday in the city of Dahab in the Sinai Peninsula. They had raided Mr Anara’s house in Cairo a day earlier, but he was not at home. The police confiscated Mr Anara’s laptop and mobile phone and charged him with “spreading false accusations against the state.”

Mr Anara was informed he will be kept in custody for 15 days for interrogation. He is currently being held under case No 855/2020, along with both Mr Abdelrzaek and Mr Bashir. The fact that the three men have been placed under the same case and face similar charges may indicate that their arrests were ordered by somebody high up in the security apparatus.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service