Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) is appalled to learn of the arrest of Egyptian political science researcher Amgad Gabbas at Cairo Airport and demands his immediate release.
As is often the case, the Egyptian regime has released no details about the supposed crimes committed by Gabbas, who was returning to the country to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
However, the brutal but fragile regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi routinely detains, mistreats and even kills those it sees as being a threat.
Human rights groups believe that Gabbas is being held at Qanater prison just outside Cairo.
AOHR UK condemns this arrest, conducted by a regime without anything even resembling a fair or transparent justice system.
Gabbas’s arrest comes soon after the mysterious death in custody of economist Ayman Hadhoud, whose family were instructed to retrieve his body from a psychiatric hospital two months after he disappeared.
Officials gave contradictory explanations for Hadhoud’s arrest, first claiming that he was detained after trying to break into an apartment and then that he was trying to break into a car elsewhere in the country. AOHR UK is confident that his real “crime” was to be a member of an opposition party – a democratic norm not tolerated by Sisi’s brutal regime.
AOHR UK fears the same fate for Gabbas is a possibility, and we call on human rights defenders across the world to join our calls for his release.
The regime of Sisi came to power in 2014 after a coup the previous year against democratically elected leader Mohamed Morsi.
Since then, it has terrorised civil society in the hope of preventing any threat to its rule.
Journalists, lawyers and dissidents have frequently been arrested at Egyptian airports. They include human rights activist Patrick Zaki, journalist Gamal al-Gamal, researcher Ismail Al-Iskandrani, journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada and lawyer Ibrahim Metwally.
Of the estimated 120,000 prisoners currently detained in Egypt, more than half – 65,000 – are thought to be political detainees. Some 26,000 of these have not been charged with any crime.
AOHR UK demands the immediate release of Amgad Gabbas. We also demand the release of all political prisoners in Egypt.
AOHR UK further demands more action is taken by world leaders in isolating Sisi and his dictatorship. It cannot be treated as a “normal” government – its brutality routinely breaks international law, using death, torture and disappearances to prevent any perceived threats to its power.