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Stockholm 20/11/2017



   The court decision to detain an Egyptian female human rights activist following a public demonstration is deeply concerning, says the Skyline International, calling on the Egyptian authorities to respect their obligations and to protect freedoms.

The decision to imprison Mahinur al-Masri constitutes a a new restriction on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and is a sign of continued repression of dissidents and human rights activists.

An Egyptian court in Alexandria on Saturday ordered the arrest of Al-Masri and Moatasem Medhat until the ruling is issued on December 30.

The case, according to Mahinur’s lawyer, included five defendants, two of whom were imprisoned, while the other three defendants did not attend and the court did not issue a decision.

The case dates back to last June when the five defendants organized a protest against the Egyptian government’s approval of the maritime boundary agreement with Saudi Arabia, known as the “Tiran and Sanafir Agreement”, referring to two islands at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Cairo recently recognized the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia over them.

Mahinur al-Masri is a member of the Revolutionary Socialists movement and was famous for its pro-workers’ positions and the January 25, 2011 revolution that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

She was released on 13 August 2016 after serving a one-year and three-month prison sentence after her conviction in May 2015 of a police station break-in in 2014 despite her denials.

The decision to detain Al-Masri and her colleague is a restriction on public freedoms and is contrary to international laws and conventions on the freedom of opinion and expression as well as a new chapter in a long series of repression of dissidents in Egypt.

Skyline stresses its criticism of the demonstration law enacted in late 2013 in Egypt, which set a security approval as a prerequisite to organize public demonstrations. Protest is a right that should be protected, not violated. Skyline calls on the Egyptian authorities to release all detainees imprisoned for expressing a different opinion, and to end suppressing of dissidents.