A crackdown against human rights defenders in Egypt leads to the arrest of a Coptic human rights activist based on fabricated charges, according to human rights groups.
The 26-year-old director of the Minority and Religious Groups Department at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom (ECRF), Mina Thabet, was arrested without warrant on May 13 in his Dar Al-Salam apartment by armed plain-clothes security officers.
Thabet has 10 charges against him under anti-terrorism law, including threats of violence to prevent the president from performing his duties, belonging to a terrorist or banned group, inciting terrorist act using the internet, inciting protests, spreading false information detrimental to the country’s reputation and peace and order, and harming public interest and owning documents that would incite citizens to overthrow the government.
Amnesty International reports:
“Mina Thabet is the latest of the many NGO workers targeted by the government for detention or intimidation. These are peaceful activists who must be allowed to carry out their work without fear of harassment or even imprisonment. The continuing onslaught against peaceful activists suggests the Egyptian authorities are ruthlessly determined to paralyse the country’s NGO community and render it utterly defunct.”
“On the international stage Egypt has justified its crackdown under the guise of fighting against terrorism, but they are using this as cover to treat peaceful human rights workers and government critics as criminals. It is critical that the international community takes a stand and urgently calls on Egypt to end its persecution of peaceful activists immediately.”