Stop the Surveillance of Released Egyptian Activists by the Police!
It has been 8 months since he completed his prison sentence in January 2017, and the political activist Ahmed Maher continues to spend every night away from his family in his assigned police station. This is because, on the 22nd of December 2013, the Abdeen Court had sentenced Ahmed Maher and Mohammed Adel, leading figures in the 6 April Youth Movement, to 3 years in prison in addition to 3 years of surveillance after their release.
Such measures are not exclusive to leading figures such as Ahmed Maher and Mohammed Adel. Today, tens of activists, some well-known and others less prominent, are being subjected to legal measures that aim to restrict their political activity after their release from prison under charges such as protesting or taking part in demonstrations. The most common of these measures is the use of precautionary arrests or police surveillance.
These procedures mandate that the convict report for surveillance on a daily or weekly basis for a duration of time that is pre-specified by a judge. It is considered an alternative measure to precautionary arrests where the convict spends a specific number of hours per weekdistributed over several days in detention. On the other hand, convicts placed under surveillance must report to the police station at 6 pm every day and remain within custody until 6 am the following morning. This has an adverse effect on the convict’s social life which becomes confined to only 12 hours a day, as well as his ability to commit to a job with regular working hours that would provide him with a stable income and dignified lifestyle.
Through increased use of such measures, the authorities seek to restrict the ability of these activists to resume participation in the public sphere by keeping them under a constant threat of arrest if they fail to abide by the procedures. The Egyptian authorities must put an immediate end to such measures, stop arresting activists for practicing their right to peaceful expression of opinion, release them without conditions or limitations, and reduce the length of surveillance periods since the time that they have already spent in prison should suffice.
Sign this petition and demand that the Egyptian Public Prosecutor put an immediate end to the use of precautionary measures and police surveillance as a punishment for peaceful political participation.
Please find below the petition statement:
Judge Nabil Sadek
The Arab Republic of Egypt
Judge Nabil Sadek,
Today, many released political activists are being subjected to police surveillance measures for their political activism, whether these are precautionary measures of the law #201 of criminal convictions or the police surveillance law #99 of the year 1945. These are measures which aim to restrict the probability of their participation in social work or in the public sphere, without considering the effect on their personal lives or the chronic feeling of threat to their personal safety.
The signatories of this petition demand that the Egyptian judiciary put an immediate end to the increased use of surveillance and precautionary measures against political activists, immediately release those under precautionary detention for political participation, and reduce the duration of police surveillance sentences since the time that these activists have already spent in prison should suffice.
Picture: Tora Prison, on the outskirts of Cairo. Credit Rena Effendi for The New York Times
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