Egypt ‘more dangerous than ever’ for peaceful critics

Eight years after the start of Egypt’s revolution, the Egyptian people are facing an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today. Tens of thousands took to the streets to demand greater protections for human rights during the 25 January revolution of 2011, but under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the space for dissent is being crushed out of existence.

Over the course of 2018, the Egyptian authorities arrested at least 113 people simply for peacefully expressing their views. Many were detained without trial for months and then prosecuted on charges including “membership of terrorist groups” and “disseminating false news” in unfair trials, including in front of military courts.

“Today it is more dangerous to openly criticize the government in Egypt than at any other time in the country’s recent history. Those living under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have experienced an unprecedented assault that has seen those who peacefully express their views treated as criminals,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

“Over the past year, people who dared to criticise the government have been arrested and sent to prison, often held in solitary confinement or subjected to enforced disappearances simply for posting their opinions on social media, giving media interviews, denouncing sexual harassment and even for supporting certain football clubs. In some cases, those arrested had done nothing at all. Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s administration, Egypt has been converted into an open-air prison for critics.”

In the wake of the crackdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International launched the campaign Egypt: Open air prison for critics, to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities to end attacks on the right to freedom of expression and ensure everyone is able to express their views and opinions without fear of reprisals. To join the campaign or find out more please click here