Source: Italian Institute for International Political Studies
Author(s): Gennaro Gervasio and Andrea Teti
On August 25th, 2020, the Director and co-founder of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) Bahey Eldin Hasan was found guilty of “publishing false news” and “insulting the judiciary.” Tried in absentia while in self-imposed exile in Tunis, he was sentenced to 15 years’ prison for tweets critical of the regime. The trial by the Fifth Terrorism Circuit of Cairo’s Criminal Court marks a new low for Egypt’s judiciary.
On February 7thPatrick Zaki was detained upon re-entering Egypt for a short holiday, based on a warrant which was never notified. Zaki is a student enrolled on an EU-funded Erasmus Masters at the University of Bologna, and formerly a researcher for another human rights organisation, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
As Director of one of Egypt’s oldest human rights organisations, Hasan’s case might be explained as a show of force against political opposition by a powerful regime. However, CIHRS had long since left Egypt, focuses primarily on research not activism, and in no way can be considered a politically relevant opposition force. In combination with thousands of cases similar to Zaki’s, Hasan’s sentence tells a different story, illustrating the weakness the Egyptian regime’s ferocity betrays.
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