Set Them Free Campaign Updates

Country: Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong
November 21, 2017

Egypt: On November 15, 2017, Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court released the 24 Nubian activists – also known as the Dafoof Detainees – and rescheduled their trial for December 12, 2017. On November 5, 2017, one of the detainees, prominent activist and businessman Gamal Sorour, died from a diabetic coma in detention after authorities denied him prompt medical care. A few days after his death, Egyptian authorities arrested ten other Nubian activists for protesting the poor prison conditions that led to Sorour’s death. Click here to read and share the World Movement’s DemocracyAlert calling for justice for the Nubian activists.

Equatorial Guinea: Ramón Esono Ebalé, a political cartoonist, has now spent over 50 days behind bars. On September 16, 2017, Equatoguinean authorities accused Ebalé of “money laundering and counterfeiting,” and detained him in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. It is believed that Ebalé was arrested and detained because his illustrations were critical of Equatorial Guinea’s government and the country’s authoritarian President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. In November 2017, the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) awarded the cartoonist their 2017 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning, which his wife accepted on his behalf. Since his detainment, artists around the world have expressed solidarity with Ebalé by drawing pictures calling for his release. View their illustrations here. To join the international #FreeNseRamon Campaign led by civil society organization Equatorial Guinea Justice, please reference further information available in English, Español, Portuguese, and Francais.

Hong Kong: On November 7, 2017, a Hong Kong court ruled to allow activists Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong to appeal their prison sentences for their participation in the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests. Their appeal will be heard on January 16, 2018, and the three activists have been released on bail. In August 2017, Nathan Law was sentenced to eight months in prison while fellow organizers Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were sentenced to six and seven months in prison, respectively. Shortly after the Umbrella Movement activists’ imprisonment, local activists organized “Story of the FronTiers,” an advocacy campaign sharing personal letters of political prisoners and their family members in Hong Kong. Click here to read the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) statement calling upon Hong Kong to respect the human rights of the democracy activists during their appeal process.