Release Hafez Abu-Se'da
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THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK

PRESS RELEASE

December 4, 1998

ARREST OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE EGYPTIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION, HAFEZ ABU SAEDA

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network is deeply worried about the arrest of the lawyer and Secretary-General of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR), Hafez Abu Saeda on December 1.

According to the Network's information, Mr. Abu Saeda has been charged with the following three criminal offenses: dissemination abroad of false information harmful to Egypt's national interests; accepting funds from a foreign country for the purpose of carrying out acts harmful to Egypt; and receiving donations without obtaining permission from the Egyptians authorities.

These charges relate to a report published in September of this year by EOHR on human rights violations in the village of Kosheh and the fact that EOHR received financial support from the human rights committee of the British Parliament.

The Network firmly believes that any human rights organisations should have the possibility to monitor, document and freely disseminate information about violations in order to carry out its task as an independent organisation. To impede on this possibility is not only violating international recognised human rights standards as put down in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but also running counter to the spirit of the Barcelona Declaration to which the Egyptian government has committed itself.

The Network therefore calls for an immediate release of Hafez Abu Sa'da, and that all charges against him be dropped. According to further information, there has also been an attempt to arrest the EOHR lawyer, Mustafa Zeidan. The Network is greatly alarmed at what seems a campaign against EOHR, and about evidence that Egyptian authorities are seeking to control and restrict not only the activities of independent human rights organisations, but also their sources of funding. It calls the Egyptian government to respect its commitment to international recognised human rights standards as well as to the Barcelona Declaration.


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