Release Hafez Abu-Se'da

Release Abu-Se’da NOW

Day 6 Update

12/06/98 17:00

Government broadens intimidation of human rights activists

The State Security Prosecutor today formally summoned Mustafa Zidane, a lawyer and human rights activist, as the Government's attack on human rights organizations expanded. The state-owned press suggested earlier this week that the investigation of Egyptian Organization for Human Rights head Hafez Abu-Se'da might widen to include other human rights workers.

Zidane conducted the EOHR's fact-finding mission into the torture of citizens in Sohag. He has officially been summoned to answer questions. Abu-Se'da was jailed after answering a similar summons.

Abu-Se'da was interrogated on Dec. 1 and has been locked in preventive detention ever since. The Prosecutor informed him during his second interrogation today that he would be freed on LE 500 bail, but he is currently still in prison. We hope he will be released tonight.

This investigation is a threat to all human rights workers in Egypt. The Government has punished an organization that had the courage to report the its sad record of torturing its own citizens. Abu-Se'da's detention was the first step in an unprecedented attempt to repress human rights organizations in Egypt.

Abu-Se'da is a prisoner of conscience. Mustafa Zidane will also be a prisoner of conscience if he is detained. Abu-Se'da's release will be no victory for human rights in Egypt if the Government expands its harassment to other human rights activists. The Government should release Abu-Se'da, close this investigation, and allow all human rights organizations to work freely.

For further information contact:

The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid, Tel: 202-338-2908/202-338-8231;

TheArab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, Tel: 2-012-311-2420.

For Hafez Abu-Se'da's biography, protests from other human rights organizations, and daily updates, visit the website located at

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