Fourteen Egyptian and international human rights organizations condemn the defamation campaign by the Egyptian authorities against human rights defender Mohamed Soltan, following the recent advocacy work of the organization he leads, The Freedom Initiative, in Washington D.C.
In a joint statement released on May 10 (in English and Arabic), these non-governmental organizations consider that these attacks are part of an intimidation campaign against human rights groups and defenders targeted because they have been shedding light on the serious human rights violations in Egypt. Many of these groups have been forced to work outside of Egypt due to the brutal crackdown on civil society and independent nongovernment organizations
Mohamed Soltan is a prominent human rights defender from The Freedom Initiative, an independent human rights advocacy group in Washington D.C. He spent nearly two years in prison in the case known as “Raba’ Operations Room,” in which authorities pressed politically-motivated charges in 2014-2015 against scores of critical journalists and political figures. In protest of his unjust detention by the Egyptian authorities, Soltan entered into an open-ended hunger strike. Backed by an international solidarity campaign, he was then exiled to the United States, where he has since been tirelessly defending human rights and democratic values. But despite these efforts within the Freedom Initiative, he was charged with several counts by the Egyptian government, as well as privately owned newspapers and the defamatory statements were reported on government-sponsored media outlets in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The signatories express their full solidarity with Mohamed Soltan, the Freedom Initiative, and all Egyptians who peacefully denounce human rights violations and pay a heavy price for them. They call on the Egyptian government to respect its obligations under international human rights treaties and the Egyptian constitution, end the crackdown on critics, and halt the persecution of human rights defenders inside and outside Egypt.
Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms
Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Committee for Justice
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Egyptian Human Rights Forum
Front Line Defenders
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
The Freedom Initiative