Document - Egypt: Three women jailed on trumped-up charges
UA: 93/14 Index: MDE 12/021/2014 Egypt Date: 17 April 2014
URGENT ACTION THREE WOMEN JAILED ON TRUMPED-UP CHARGES The Egyptian authorities have detained three female students on trumped-up charges. The women are prisoners of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Abrar Al-Anany and Menatalla Moustafa, 18-year-old students, and 21-year old graduate student Yousra Elkhateeb, were arrested on 12 November 2013 at Mansoura University after clashes on the university campus between supporters and opponents of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. They were among at least 23 students arrested that day. The young women are being held at Mansoura’s Public Prison, where each is allowed only a weekly five-minute visit from her family.
The women have been charged with “belonging to a banned organization using ‘terrorist’ methods” – a charge regularly used against those perceived to support the Muslim Brotherhood. They are also charged with “protesting without permission” under Egypt’s restrictive new protest law; as well as “thuggery”, “attacking security forces” and “destroying public property”.
The three women are being held with convicted prisoners who reportedly regularly harass and intimidate them and call them terrorists. According to her family, Menatalla Moustafa’s health has deteriorated: she has epilepsy and has had at least three seizures since the beginning of April, but she has not been seen by doctors.
The three women have been brought before the Mansoura Criminal Court several times since February. The court has postponed their case repeatedly. The next hearing is scheduled for 21 May 2014. According to witnesses and their lawyers, the three women had taken part in a peaceful protest but hid as soon as clashes began. Amnesty International has seen a letter from the university’s security department to the public prosecutor stating that the women did not take part in the violence and asking for their release.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language: ν Urge the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Abrar Al-Anany, Menatalla Moustafa and Yousra Elkhateeb, and release them immediately and unconditionally; ν Calling on them to give Menatalla Moustafa access to any medical attention she may require; ν Calling on them to separate the three women from other convicted prisoners pending their release.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 MAY 2014 TO: Public Prosecutor Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat Office of the Public Prosecutor Supreme Court House, 1 “26 July” Road Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt Fax: +202 2 577 4716 +202 2 575 7165 (switched off after office hours, GMT+2) Salutation: Dear Counsellor
Interim President Adly Mahmoud Mansour Office of the President Al Ittihadia Palace Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt Fax: +202 2 391 1441 Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to: Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights Mahy Hassan Abdel Latif Multilateral Affairs and International Security Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt Fax: +202 2 574 9713 Email: Contact.Us@mfa.gov.eg
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
URGENT ACTION THREE WOMEN JAILED ON TRUMPED-UP CHARGES
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The clashes at Mansoura University, which broke out during a protest held by student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, lasted more than five hours and left at least 70 people injured. After university security tried and failed to take control of the situation the university president called security forces to intervene. They entered the university campus with armoured vehicles and shot teargas to disperse the students. At least 23 students were arrested, including the three women.
According to witnesses and their lawyers, the three young women were not involved in the clashes. They had peacefully taken part in protests earlier but sought safety in a room at the university’s faculty of pharmacy as soon as the clashes began. Amnesty International has seen a copy of a letter from the security department at Mansoura University to the public prosecutor stating that the women did not take part in the violence and asking for their release.
The three were taken to Menyat Al Nasr Police Station following their arrest and then to Mansoura Public Prison. Menatalla Moustafa was 17 years old at the time of her arrest. She was held with adults in the police station and the prison.
Since the beginning of the academic year in September 2013, several protests have been held on university campuses by the anti- government activist group “Students against the Coup”. University campuses and even dormitories have become frequent sites of clashes.
Universities across Egypt have been affected by protests and clashes, including Greater Cairo’s two largest universities, Cairo University and Ain Shams. Al-Azhar University is a centre of student unrest. Security forces have used excessive force, including lethal force, to disperse the protests. At least 14 students have been killed in confrontations with the security forces according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. Courts have convicted three al-Azhar University students, sentencing them to between 18 months and 17 years in prison. A new protest law restricting the right to public assembly, signed by interim President Adly Mansour on 24 November 2013, falls short of international standards. It gives the Interior Ministry wide discretionary powers over protests, including the use of firearms against peaceful protesters. Protesters convicted of breaking the law can face up to five years in prison and fines of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (US$14,513).
Name: Abrar Al-Anany, Menatalla Moustafa, Yousra El Khateeb Gender m/f: f
UA: 93/14 Index: MDE 12/021/2014 Issue Date: 17 April 2014