JOHANNESBURG / PRAGUE
The Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) and global civil society alliance CIVICUS call on Egypt to immediately free human rights lawyer Hoda Abdel Moneim from prison ahead of her 65th birthday on Sunday January 28.
Abdel Moneim has spent the last five years behind bars following a 2018 arrest on false charges. She was due for release in November 2023, but authorities added new charges against her instead.
“Human rights lawyer Hoda Abdel Moneim is an innocent, elderly woman suffering severe health conditions,” said Ahmed Attalla, the Executive Director of EFHR. “As her 65th birthday approaches, Egyptian authorities should show compassion and release her to her family. Her continued detention after the completion of her prison term is clear evidence of the Egyptian authorities’ hostility towards the human rights movement.”
Abdel Moneim served on Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights, and has held several other positions, including spokesperson for the Women’s Revolutionary Coalition of Egypt, an Islamist group that opposed the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi. CIVICUS profiles Hoda Abdel Moneim as part of the Stand As My Witness campaign, which advocates for the release of jailed activists and human rights defenders worldwide.
Security agents arrested Abdel Moneim on November 1, 2018. They burst into her home at 1:30am, ransacked the house, blindfolded her, and put her in their vehicle before holding her incommunicado for three weeks. They gave no warrant or reason for her arrest.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution eventually charged Hoda Abdel Moneim with joining and funding a terrorist organization and incitement to harm the national economy and other alleged offences under Egypt’s anti-terrorism law and penal code.
After an unfair trial full of irregularities, a court convicted Abdel Moneim of most charges. It sentenced her to five years in prison plus another five years of supervised parole where she would spend every night at the police station. But authorities continued detaining her under a new case after the prison term ended.
“The Egyptian authorities already imprisoned Hoda for five years for a crime she did not commit. It’s time to let her walk free,” said Asma Darwish, CIVICUS Campaigns Officer and MENA Advocacy Lead. “She is being persecuted for her human rights activities and should never have been sent to jail in the first place.”
Abdel Moneim’s arrest is illustrative of a system built to crack down on critical voices. In the last ten years, referred to as Egypt’s “worst decade” on human rights, Egyptian authorities have unjustly arrested tens of thousands of people including human rights defenders, members and leading figures of peaceful political opposition, journalists and artists, and online content creators.
“Sadly, there are many innocent people like Hoda Abdel Moneim stuck behind bars in Egypt today,” said Darwish. “While we demand her release before her 65th birthday, we call on Egypt to release everyone wrongly imprisoned with her.”
Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) is an independent European organization established in Czech Republic in 2017. The Front works to improve the human rights situation in Egypt through research, advocacy and legal work, specifically in criminal justice.
CIVICUS is the global alliance of civil society organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. A worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity. We were established in 1993 and since 2002 have been proudly headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional hubs across the globe. We are a membership alliance with more than 15,000 members in more than 175 countries.