As Egypt’s President el-Sisi and President Trump meet in Washington, Index on Censorship and leading international human rights lawyers at Doughty Street Chambers are renewing calls for all charges and sanctions against Amal Fathy, detained for speaking out against sexual harassment in Egypt, to be dropped.
Fathy was arrested in May 2018 after posting a Facebook video about sexual harassment of women in Egypt. Fathy was charged with membership of a terrorist organisation and other related charges. She was released from prison after several months in difficult conditions, but she remains bound by debilitating bail conditions and under constant threat of being summarily returned to prison.
Her husband Mohamed Lotfy and their young son were also held after the night-time raid on their apartment in May 2018 but were released after several hours. Lotfy is co-founder and executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), which has played a key role in increasing awareness of enforced disappearances, censorship, torture and violations of freedom of expression and association in Egypt.
Lawyers from Doughty Street Chambers, jointly with ECRF and Index on Censorship, have lodged complaints with the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and the situation of human rights defenders regarding Fathy’s situation, and in July 2018 they raised Fathy’s case with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which will begin its next session later this month.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Doughty Street Chambers, said: “Our client Amal Fathy spent 230 days in prison, in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, separated from her young son and family, simply for speaking out about the rights of women in Egypt. The threat of being returned to prison continues to hang over her. This is the reality of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi‘s regime. The US has a moral obligation to call on Egypt to quash her conviction and ensure she is truly free.”
Perla Hinojosa, Fellowships & Advocacy Officer at Index on Censorship said: “Index on Censorship urges Egypt to drop all charges against Amal Fathy and compensate her for the months she spent in prison. It must be acceptable to criticise sexual harassment in Egypt and we urge the government to address this important issue.”