Nazra for Feminist Studies condemned Sunday the arrest of nine women’s rights activists during a march against the Protest Law in Heliopolis, calling the arrests and charges levied against the nine women “directly related to their legitimate activities in the defense of human rights”.
In a statement released on their website, Nazra condemned the ongoing detention of the nine women, including Yara Sallam, an award winning rights activist. All nine of the women are being charged with a slew of offenses that include: “The use of force and violence to terrorize and intimidate citizens, the deliberate destruction of public property, and the possession of tools used to assault persons without a legal justification.”
“Nazra for Feminist Studies condemns the arrest and detention of the women human rights defenders and believes that it is directly related to their legitimate activities in the defense of human rights,” the statement reads, adding: “Egyptian human rights defenders have been facing mounting acts of intimidation and judicial harassment in the recent months, arbitrary arrest, harsh sentences and imprisonment.”
The group then listed six demands of the Egyptian authorities, which dropping charges against the activists, the guarantee of the detainees’ safety, end of harassment and prosecution of rights activists, ensure the revision of the Protest Law, guarantee of the right of women to engage in human rights work, and annulling charges against activists for violating the protest law.
A number of prominent activists have been jailed for violation of the Protest Law since its inception in late 2013. Three prominent members of 6 April Youth, Mohamed Adel, Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Douma were sentenced to three years labour and a EGP 50,000 fine on 22 December.
Alaa Abdel Fattah, along with 24 others, was sentenced to 15 years for taking part in a No to Military Trials protest in violation of the Protest Law. Each of the defendants was fined EGP 100,000.
Prominent activist and lawyer Mahienour El-Massry was also sentenced to two years in prison for violating the Protest Law and faces charges in another case.
“In the second case, El-Massry is charged with allegedly ‘assaulting security forces’, after she and a group of lawyers went to Raml police station to provide legal assistance to activists who had been arrested and handed in to the police by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood,” the statement adds.