By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2732

Outcry after West’s ally Egypt imprisons human rights activists

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Issue 2732
Egyptian human rights activist Karim Ennarah (left)
Egyptian human rights activist Karim Ennarah (left)

Activists are calling for the release of human rights campaigners imprisoned by Egypt’s dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Egyptian state forces launched an assault on human rights organisation Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights this month, arresting and detaining several of its staff members. 

Two of those arrested—administrative director Karim Ennarah and executive director Gasser Abdel Razek—have been hit with spurious “terrorism” charges.

More than 83,000 people have signed an online petition launched by Karim’s wife Jess Kelly demanding their release. Trade unionists and campaigners in Britain have also launched a statement organised by the Egypt Solidarity campaign.

Jess told Channel 4 news, “The conditions of an arrest by state security are very restrictive. No one is allowed to speak to Karim apart from his lawyers and they’ve been given just a few minutes to talk to him on the day he was remanded.”

She added that Egypt’s laws allow the state to detain people for up to two years without trial.

Karim and Gasser are two of some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. They’re victims of state repression launched by el-Sisi as part of a counter revolution.

Ordinary Egyptians overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. But general el-Sisi staged a coup in 2013, massacring members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, banning demonstrations and imprisoning activists.

Karim and Gasser were arrested after a meeting with diplomats from European countries. They have been added to a case against other activists—including socialist lawyer Mahienour el-Masry and journalist Solafa Magdy—accused of “joining a terrorist group”.


The regime supports the US and is an ally of Britain.

Jess said, “We should have a direct response from Boris Johnson and other leaders in Europe. The people who sent their diplomats to this meeting should be speaking out.”

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi—a dictator for the west
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi—a dictator for the west
  Read More

She said she had been “overwhelmed by the amount of support that Karim has.”

Sandy Nicoll is a trade unionist at Soas university where Karim studied. “We stand in full solidarity with Karim and his colleagues and call on Soas management to make a public statement demanding their immediate release,” he said. 

“We will be publicising this latest crackdown throughout the trade union movement. And urging our colleagues to redouble their efforts to mobilise solidarity with Egyptian political prisoners and activists under threat.”

If you are a trade unionist, add your name to the protest statement here
Sign the petition calling for Karim’s release here
Send protest emails to the Egyptian Ambassador in your country, calling for the immediate release of the EIPR detainees and all other political prisoners


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