Egypt: Release of arbitrarily detained labour rights lawyer a welcome relief

 

Responding to the news that human rights and labour lawyer Haytham Mohamdeen has been released, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim said:

“Amid the ongoing persecution of hundreds of peaceful activists across Egypt in recent years, Haytham Mohamdeen’s release is a small but welcome victory for human rights in the country and for all those who campaigned for his release. However, he should never have been detained in the first place.

“The valuable work of lawyers such as Haytham Mohamdeen, who defend workers calling for better labour conditions, should be applauded by the Egyptian authorities, not punished with arbitrary detention.

“The Egyptian authorities must now take urgent steps to ensure that all other human rights lawyers, activists and opposition members who are being arbitrarily detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association are released immediately and unconditionally.”

Haytham Mohamdeen thanked all of those who have campaigned on his case:

“I thank Amnesty International for all the solidarity and support for my case, I also thank the activists and human rights defenders that supported me. It had a huge impact in terms of enhancing my detention conditions and pushing towards my release.”

Background

Haytham Mohamdeen’s case is featured in Amnesty International’s campaign on freedom of expression in Egypt.

He was arrested on 18 May 2018 and held incommunicado for two days. He was released on 30 October 2018. The Office of the State Security Prosecution then charged him with “unauthorized protests” and “membership in a terrorist group” in the context of peaceful protests against government austerity measures despite the fact that he did not participate in these protests and had been with his family at the time.  He had previously faced repeated harassment and persecution from the Egyptian authorities in connection for his human rights work including at the El-Nadeem Centre for human rights.