The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawler, said that she is following with concern the prison sentences issued against lawyers and human rights activists in Egypt, calling for their release.
Lawler said: “We have not received any responses to all the detainees’ cases, and I ask the Egyptian authorities to release all of them.”
“We receive complaints about bad conditions, torture and physical abuse in Egyptian prisons”, she added.
On March 5, the Supreme State Security Court issued prison sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years for the activists of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, in a case dating back to 2018.
It sentenced lawyers Ezzat Ghoneim and Mohamed Abu Huraira to 15 years in prison, the human rights activist Aisha Khairat Al-Shater was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the court sentenced lawyer Hoda Abdel Moneim (former member of the National Council for Human Rights) to 5 years in prison.
The Public Prosecution charged the defendants with many fabricated charges, including joining a terrorist cell, planning to commit crimes, some of them were charged with financing terrorism, possession of firearms, planning to commit operations, and using websites to exchange information between members of the cell.
The rulings of the Emergency Supreme State Security Court are considered final after the President of the Republic ratifies them.
The Egyptian court’s decision sparked widespread condemnation from local and international human rights organisations, activists, and human rights defenders.