Trial Monitoring Report Case No. 1 of 2018, Emergency State Security Crimes Court, AKA “detainees of the hangout Case”

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Egypt has witnessed during the last ten years a huge number of trials against political activists and human rights defenders. Such trials were unfair, making the courts a field to liquidate political opponents and reduce the role of civil society.
At the same time, laws were drafted that wasted the rights of detainees and their defense rights and violated Egypt’s international obligations according to the treaties and agreements. Among such laws, the most notable were the Demonstration Law which was approved by former President Adly Mansour in November 2013, the Law on NGOs which puts obstacles and led to the control of security agencies in preventing civil society organizations from performing their work; In particular human rights organizations and political parties, together with other laws that systematically restrict freedom of opinion and expression, exclusion of political opposition, and giving the green light to law enforcement officials in the Ministry of the Interior sector, specifically the national security sector, in expanding its violations against civilians, without fear of accountability or punishment to deter their violations.

Most of those violations occurred over the past four years, especially in the period following June 30th 2013, as the high rates of enforced disappearance and torture, the high rates of death sentences and executions, and most notably the execution of more than 28 death sentences at the end of last year and the beginning of the current one.
The presidential elections marked a shift in the course of democracy and human rights in Egypt, where the current president has shut off all opportunities for candidacy for the presidency to all those who announced their intentions to run for president.
The most prominent was former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq with the arrest of one of his advisers; the former head of the Central Auditing Organization Hisham Geneina, brigadier-general Ahmed Qonswa, and in a statement issued by Khalid Ali announcing his withdrawal from the presidential elections because they were not in a healthy democratic environment.
Also it was shown by the expansion of the national security apparatus in the arrest of some of those who had published news or expressed their opinions through the platforms of free communication of which the most prominent arrest was that of journalist Moataz Wednan, who had conducted an interview with the former head of the Central Auditing Organization Hisham Geneina, in case No. 441, before the prosecution Supreme State Security.

This case also includes political activists and journalists, and human rights activists including human rights defender Ezzat Ghoneim.

The consequences of the majority of the violations since June 30th 2013 have been to widen the waste of guarantees for fair trial before independent courts; each judge must have full independence, since that is the basis of the judicial system that guarantees respect for human rights in accordance with the International Covenant on Human Rights.

On April 10th 2017, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a state of emergency in the country, to be renewed after its expiration every three months. On the declaration of a state of emergency, the Emergency State Security Court exercises its functions in accordance with this declaration.

This report is based on the preceding period. One of the cases that are held before the Emergency State Security Court, is case No. 1 of 2018 Emergency State Security Offenses, which is known at the media by (the detainees of the hangout ), a term which was used because the all accused were arrested while hanging out in Al-Azhar Park, Cairo.

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ECRF is a human rights movement of more than 1500 volunteers in over 14 governorates working to defend the rights of the Egyptian people. And we never surrender.

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