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EOHR condemns detention of protestors and assault of journalists

(EOHR/IFEX) - The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) condemns the unlawful detention of human rights activists in a clear violation of their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by international human rights covenants and the Egyptian constitution.

A group of activists organised a protest on 4 May 2009 before the State Council as an objection to a verdict, delivered the same day, regarding the exportation of gas to Israel. Some of the demonstrators were detained during the protest and their names are as follows:

Mohamed Adel, blogger
Abdullah Yahya (6th April Youth Movement)
Fouad Ibrahim (6th April Youth Movement)
Hafiz Mohammad Al Ashkar (Al Karama party)
Mohamed Adib (Al Karama party)
Mohamed Abdel Tawab Awad
Rami Kamel Sayed
Mohamed Mustafa Kamal
Mohamed Mabrouk, (reporter of Al Haya Al Youm)

The mobile phone of Ali Mohamed Ali, a journalist at "Al Kaian Al Araby", was confiscated. Asmaa Shawada, a journalist at "Al Ahaly" newspaper, was assaulted, thrown from the State Council's stairs and arrested. All those arrested were released after a few hours.

The protestors were arrested and persecuted because they were expressing their disagreement with the court's decision to export gas to Israel, an opinion that would not be published or expressed in any government-dominated media, because the court's decision is believed to be politically motivated.

EOHR condemns this blatant attempt to prevent peaceful assemblies, a violation of the provision of Article 54 of the Egyptian Constitution which includes the right to assemble peacefully without prior permission. This is also a violation of Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was ratified by the Egyptian government and has become an integral part of its domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution. Article 280 of the Penal Code bans the arrest, imprisonment or detention of persons without permission by the competent authorities.

EOHR calls on the legislature to amend the legislative structure which violates the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression, including the Illegal Assembly Law No. 10 of 1914, Meetings and Demonstrations Law No. 14 of 1923, and the Emergency Law No. 162 of 1958.

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