The Egyptian authorities must end their campaign to silence human rights activists as demonstrations continue, Amnesty International said today.
Two Amnesty International staff members are missing and are believed to be held by the military police following a raid on a Cairo law centre yesterday with other activists, while other human rights activists have been detained and journalists harassed.
“The authorities must immediately halt their crackdown on human rights activists and journalists in the country and end the violent attacks carried out by their supporters on peaceful protesters.” said Salil Shetty Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“They must also immediately free Amnesty International staff and others detained during yesterday’s raid. Holding human rights activists monitoring events in Egypt is completely unacceptable.”
The two Amnesty International delegates were among about 30 detained during a raid by security forces on the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC) in Cairo yesterday. They also include a Human Rights Watch staff member and several prominent Egyptian human rights activists.
Fresh reports have since emerged about the raid. Eyewitnesses reported that those arrested were hooded as they were taken from the building and driven away in by plainclothes security officers in unmarked cars.
“We are very much concerned about the safety of those detained” said Salil Shetty.
“We hold the Egyptian authorities responsible for the safety of the protestors and all those in detention.”
During the raid military police reportedly confiscated equipment, including computers, and papers from both the HMLC and the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights ECESR.
Three members of the Egyptian Center for Housing Rights (ECHR) were also reportedly arrested yesterday in Cairo.
At the time of their arrest in Bulaq Abou El-‘Ila, they were purchasing blankets, which they were intending to distribute to protesters camped out in Tahrir Square.
The ECHR is a member of an alliance of 61 Egyptian human rights organizations which have been responding to the continued unrest.
“These arrests and others appear to show a widespread crackdown on human rights activists is taking place. The authorities must allow independent monitoring of the crisis in Egypt” said Salil Shetty.
The following Egyptian activists are among those believed to be held: Ahmed Seif Al Islam Mohsen Beshir Mostafa Al Hassan Mouna AlMasry Al Sayed Feky Fatma Abed Shahdan Nadine Abu Shadi Nadia Hashem Ahmed Hamdy Mahmoud