Egypt: Prison term for human rights defender who spoke out about sexual harassment an outrageous injustice

30 December 2018, 16:23 UTC

Responding to the news that an Egyptian court has upheld a two-year prison sentence against Amal Fathy, a woman human rights defender convicted over a video she posted online criticizing the Egyptian authorities for failing to tackle sexual harassment, Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said:

“The court’s decision to uphold the guilty verdict against Amal Fathy is an outrageous injustice. The fact that a survivor of sexual harassment is being punished with a two-year prison sentence simply for speaking out about her experience is utterly disgraceful. This verdict makes a mockery of justice and should be a stain on the conscience of the Egyptian authorities.

“The timing of the verdict is particularly cruel, coming only days after Amal was reunited with her loved ones.

“Instead of lashing out against critics and people who courageously speak their minds freely, the Egyptian authorities should immediately quash Amal Fathy’s conviction and drop all the charges against her.”

Amal Fathy had been in pre-trial detention in relation to a separate case against her in which she is charged with being a “member of a terrorist group” among other offences. On 27 December, Amal was released on probation, requiring her to spend an hour at a police station on a weekly basis and confining her to her place of residence except for when she needs to attend medical appointments.

Amal Fathy is a human rights defender who is married to Mohamed Lotfy, a former Amnesty International researcher and the current director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an Egyptian human rights NGO. Her case was featured in Amnesty International’s 2018 Write for Rights campaign.