Egypt’s security forces detained the manager of a prominent rights group in Cairo after he met with European diplomats (see below), which the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) described as an “unprecedented escalation,” according to reports.
The EIPR said administrative manager Mohamed Basheer was arrested after midnight and held for 12 hours until he appeared at the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement district.
The detention “is just the latest episode in the ongoing crackdown that aims to intimidate and scare legal and human rights professionals as well as… activists,” an EIPR statement added.
“By arresting Mohamed Basheer, a member of staff at one of Egypt’s most prominent independent human rights organizations, the Egyptian authorities have yet again shown their intolerance of any scrutiny of their abysmal human rights record, sending a chilling message to the embattled human rights community in Egypt that they remain at risk,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.
Members of the Media Freedom Coalition’s Executive Group have expressed concern at the continued restrictions on media freedom in Egypt, including the recent arrest and intimidation of individuals associated with journalist Khaled el-Balshy, editor-in-chief of the news website Darb. In particular, the Coalition is concerned by the arrest of Kamal el-Balshy, brother of Khaled, on September 20, 2020. The Coalition urges authorities to allow journalists in Egypt to practise their profession without fear of arrest or reprisal.
Ambassador Paul Garnier, accompanied by 13 ambassadors and deputy ambassador, visited the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights @EIPR for a briefing on the status and work of #civilsociety in #Egypt 🇪🇬
— Swiss Embassy Cairo (@CH_Cairo) November 5, 2020