Egypt: Human rights defender and sexual harassment survivor, Amal Fathy, sentenced for speaking out

Following the sentencing of an Egyptian woman human rights defender, Amal Fathy, who has already spent 141 days in prison after being arbitrarily arrested for posting a Facebook video decrying sexual harassment and criticising the Egyptian authorities for failing to protect women, to a two years suspended prison sentence with a bail of 20,000 EGP (1,120 USD) and a fine of 10,000 EGP (560 USD),  Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said:

“Amal Fathy is now facing a disgraceful sentence simply for her courage to speak out against sexual harassment. This is an outrageous case of injustice, where the survivor is sentenced while the abuser remains at large. She is a human rights defender and sexual harassment survivor, who told her truth to the world and highlighted the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt. She is not a criminal and should not be punished for her bravery.

 “We are once again calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Amal Fathy and drop all charges against her. Her imprisonment for peacefully expressing her opinions is an affront to the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Egypt’s own constitution and its international obligations, as well as Egypt’s repeated commitments to combat sexual harassment.

“It is currently more dangerous to criticise the government in Egypt than at any time in the country’s recent history. Egyptians living under President al-Sisi are treated as criminals simply for peacefully expressing their opinions.”

Background

Amal Fathy is an Egyptian woman human rights defender who focuses mostly on democracy issues. She has been vocal about human rights violations in Egypt, especially the arbitrary detention of activists and human rights defenders.  She is currently in pre-trial detention in another case and is facing charges of “belonging to a terrorist group”, “broadcasting ideas calling for terrorist acts”, and “publishing false news”. The State Security prosecutor will decide on renewing her detention for 15 more days on 14 October.

Egyptian police forces arrested Amal Fathy in the early hours of 11 May, along with her husband Mohamed Lotfy, a former Amnesty International researcher and the current director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an Egyptian human rights NGO. Police raided the couple’s home in Cairo and brought them both to the Maadi police station, along with their three-year-old child.

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