Journalist Abducted and Tortured in Egypt

Country: Egypt
October 15, 2019

The World Movement is outraged by the detention and torture of human rights activist and journalist Esraa Abdefattah and fears gravely for her safety if her detention continues. Abdelfattah was abducted in Cairo by armed plainclothes police officers on October 12, 2019. She is reportedly detained under investigation for “disseminating false news” and “misusing social media.” Her detention comes amidst a widespread crackdown on civic space in the country, with over 3,120 people arrested in the last month. We join organizations around the globe in demanding her immediate release and speaking out against her inhumane treatment.

While in their custody, government interrogators tortured Abdelfattah by strangling her and handcuffing her in a standing position for over eight hours. Officers threatened that they would torture her again if she reported the incidents to the prosecutor.

Abdelfattah is widely known for role in sparking the creation of the April 6 Youth Movement, a political movement that demanded basic rights for all Egyptians during the Arab Spring, before an Egyptian court declared it a banned organization in 2014. Because of her work during the Arab Spring, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Currently, she works as a reporter and social media coordinator at the news website Tahrir News, where she writes about human rights issues. The outlet has been blocked in the country since May 2019. The Egyptian government has regularly harassed her for the last decade, and since 2015, she has been unable to leave the country due to a travel ban.

The government’s persecution of her, as well as the recent crackdown on human rights activists, are factors that we expect to be noted in the Universal Periodic Review that the UN Human Rights Council will conduct next month.

Given that Abdelfattah will continue to be detained in the same facility in which she was tortured and threatened retribution for reporting her abuse, we are fearful of the implications for her safety and implore authorities to ensure her safety. Additionally, we call on the Egyptian government to immediately release the more than 3,120 people arrested in the past month, including Esraa Abdelfattah. Join us by sharing on Twitter and Facebook.