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UA 107/19
Abgeschlossen am 19. September 2019

Three politicians arbitrarily detained

AI-Index: MDE 12/0839/2019

Human rights lawyer and former parliamentarian Zyad el-Elaimy, along with journalists and politicians Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad, as well as at least 12 other politicians, journalists, labour activists and students have been arbitrarily detained by the Egyptian authorities over charges that relate to their peaceful political activities. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced their detention on 25 June 2019, however Amnesty International has confirmed that at least six of them were detained before that date.


Amnesty International has documented the arrest of 15 individuals in case 930/2019 known as «Hope case». The list of detainees includes Zyad el-Elaimy, a former parliamentarian, human rights lawyer and one of the leaders of the Egyptian Social Democratic party, journalist and spokesperson for the leftist Popular Current party Hossam Moanis, journalist, trade unionist and socialist politician Hisham Fouad, as well as 12 others arrested on separate dates in June and July. Amnesty International is aware of 105 individuals being investigated in the case; many of them are currently detained.

The case came to light on 25 June 2019, when the Ministry of Interior announced in a statement that it had uncovered «a joint plot between the Muslim Brotherhood’s exiled leadership and the civil opposition [in Egypt] to target the state and its institutions in order to oust it on 30 June. » The statement refers to the involvement of several Muslim Brotherhood and opposition figures abroad, as well as the arrest of an unspecified number of individuals inside Egypt, including eight mentioned by name.

Egypt has seen a rise in the number of detainees being held in pre-trial detention for months and sometimes years over terrorism-related charges, in many cases based on police investigations only, which the Court of Cassation has ruled do not constitute evidence on their own. Detainees in these cases are usually subjected to enforced disappearances for days, weeks or even months, before they are brought before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which then orders their detention pending investigation into terrorism-related charges.

The Egyptian authorities have orchestrated a brutal crackdown on critics and opponents from across the whole political spectrum, from supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to leftist or liberal activists, and even supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak. The crackdown has also targeted journalists, lawyers, staff of civil society organizations, and the general public, including football fans and individuals voicing criticism to economic or social conditions. These arrests are effectively turning Egypt into an open-air prison with no opposition, critics or independent reporting allowed.

Amnesty International believes that these arrests are directly related to a coalition's plans to unite secular parties ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in April-May 2020. The arrests follow a similar pattern observed in 2017 ahead of the 2018 presidential elections when the Egyptian authorities launched an unprecedented crackdown on political opponents and critics that culminated with the arrest of President al-Sisi’s contenders and their supporters. Egypt has recently amended its constitution pushing back the date of the presidential election to 2024 instead of 2022, effectively allowing President al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030.

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