For Immediate Release: August 26, 2013
New York City – Human Rights First said today that the targeting of political activists in Egypt further undermines confidence in the military-backed government. Media reports suggest that Egypt’s General Prosecutor Hesham Barakat has asked the Supreme State Security Prosecution to investigate Asmaa Mahfouz and Esraa Abd El-Fattah on accusations of espionage.
“This is an alarming development by any standards,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “Politically-motivated charges have been brought against a wide range of people since the coup, from supporters of former President Morsi to Mohamed el Baradei, who was part of the government until he resigned last week. This latest news confirms fears that government authorities will judicially harass anyone who appears to question them.”
The reports suggest that the two women are to be investigated for espionage because they receive foreign funding.
Both Mahfouz and Abd El-Fattah were former leading members of the April 6 Movement, which was founded under the Mubarak regime and critical of its repression.
“Targeting peaceful dissidents is not the sort of inclusive politics Egypt needs right now,” said Hicks. “It sends a message of increasing repression and will only further increase instability.”
For more information or to speak with Hicks, contact Brenda Bowser Soder at BowserSoderB@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323.