SOS – Urgent Action: Detention of ESCR-Net Chairperson, Hossam Bahgat
On Sunday morning, 8 November, Hossam Bahgat, the chairperson of the ESCR-Net Board, was summoned by military intelligence, interrogated, and charged by military prosecution. He has been charged with publishing “false information that harms national interests” under new counter-terrorism laws that have been used to criminalize journalists who publish information that differs from the accounts of the Ministry of Defense. While continuing to serve as the chairperson of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Hossam has been working as an investigative journalist with Mada Masr. At present, Hossam remains detained.
Due to the urgency of the situation and in line with our agreed procedures, the Secretariat has senta letter to the Egyptian government, copying several UN Special Rapporteurs, calling for Hossam’s immediate and unconditional release, and denouncing legislation and practices aimed at silencing human rights defenders and journalists. Please feel free to disseminate the letter widely.
This situation is now being widely covered by Egyptian and international media, and many allies are also taking action. We will do our best to keep you informed of any developments.