Release Hafez Abu-Se'da

I am Nehad Abul-Qumsan, the wife of human rights activist Hafez Abu-Se'da. He is currently being detained by the Egyptian state security for no other reason except his commitment to the cause of human rights.

It is ironic that this is the year when the whole world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when governments are boasting about their commitments to the cause of human rights and when the world is full of thousands and thousands of victims of human rights violations. This year, our Government, instead of addressing those violations and investigating the abuses, chooses instead to put people like my husband in prison.

Hafez was not arrested because he has, in his capacity as Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights received support for the activity of the Organization. Hafez was arrested in an act of terrorism against all human rights activism in this country and in preparation for a new law governing all non-profit associations that is about to enter parliament.

This arrest is not against Hafez personally, but against the organization that he represents and against the whole human rights movement in Egypt. The Egyptian human rights movement is the only remaining and serious voice against human rights violations in this country. This is an attack on the freedom of expression and an attack on the freedom of Egyptian civil society.

Foreign funding is not the problem. The problem for the Government is the activities that this funding is supporting. Thousands of organizations and institutions are being funded in this country. It is only organizations which challenge government policy and government violations of human rights that come under attack. The release of Hafez is the responsibility of this government, if it wishes to present itself to the world as one which pays the least minimal respect to human rights.

Nehad Abul-Qumsan,
Director of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Wife of Hafez Abu-Se'da

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