EFHR Condemns Escalating Prosecution and Detention of Citizens for Criticizing and Suffering from the Economic Crisis

The Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR) condemns the Egyptian authorities’ resort to security solutions in dealing with citizens expressing their grievances over the current economic crisis. This is evidenced by the arbitrary detention of critics of current economic policies and their inclusion in state security cases following their activities on social media platforms.

Amidst the deteriorating economic situation and the austerity structural reform policies adopted by the Egyptian state, authorities continue to confront citizen criticism of the current conditions with threats of arbitrary arrest and charges related to state security. This is amidst an escalating security campaign against economic demands over the past three years.

Recent cases include case No. 2036 of the year 2023, where individuals were arrested in December 2023 for posting satirical videos on TikTok criticizing President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s policies for the economic downturn and rising food costs. Similarly, in early 2024, similar cases emerged, such as case No. 281 of the year 2024, where a protester was arrested after holding a sign in Cairo calling for President el-Sisi’s resignation. Furthermore, case No. 717 of the year 2024 involved the enforced disappearance and torture of individuals accused of joining an unlawfully established group and spreading false news criticizing state policies and the high cost of living. Both individuals remain arbitrarily detained pending trial.

Additionally, the recent case involves several workers from Greater Cairo who went on strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage to compensate for the exorbitant rise in prices. They too faced charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news after being summoned by national security on February 29, 2024, and subsequently arrested.

The Egyptian Front for Human Rights affirms that these security practices violate the provisions of the Egyptian constitution guaranteeing freedom of opinion and expression in all forms, as well as international obligations binding Egypt, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees freedom of opinion and expression for all, as long as peaceful and legitimate means are employed.

The Egyptian Human Rights Front demands: the immediate release of the aforementioned detained citizens, the exclusion of security solutions in addressing citizens’ economic demands and grievances, and the adoption of more democratic and negotiable approaches with regularly affected groups such as workers to reach solutions that consider the interests of these vulnerable groups. EFHR also calls for the lifting of surveillance and monitoring on citizens’ use of their social media accounts to express their opinions and daily struggles.

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