For Immediate Release: August 15, 2011
Washington, DC – Following reports that the Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged prominent activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz with allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and using Facebook to call for the assassination of Supreme Council of Armed Forces members and certain judges, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:
“The arrest and charging of Egyptian activist Amsaa Mahfouz seems like an alarming case of déjà vu. It’s a reflexive move back to the dark days of the Mubarak regime, when bloggers and others using social media to criticize the government were prosecuted for peacefully voicing their beliefs.
“Mahfouz’s case and the cases of several other activist accused of using social media tools to criticize Egypt’s military rulers are expected to be brought before military prosecutors this week. The Egyptian military needs to realize this is 2011, not 2010, that the people of Egypt want to the change they demanded in January and February. This includes the right not to be punished for speaking out against the government.
“Mubarak has gone and so should have the attacks on human rights defenders and others exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”