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Mohamed El-Baqer’s appeal rejected, human rights defender to remain on terrorist list

Status: 
On Trial
About the situation

On 8 November 2021, human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim were presented before the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court for Case No. 1228/2021. The pronouncement of the human rights defenders’ verdict has been rescheduled once again to 20 December 2021 without allowing the defence the chance to advocate for their clients.

On 23 November 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo ordered that human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer be added to a ‘terror list' for five years.

On 5 May 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo renewed the detention of human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, Mohamed Ibrahim, and woman human rights defender Mahienour El-Masry for an additional 45 days.

On 20 February 2020, the Criminal Court of Tora accepted the Public Prosecution's appeal against the release of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer and renewed his detention for an additional 45 days, without providing any justification. This decision came after the Court ordered his release on 18 February.

On 23 October 2019, the Supreme Public Prosecution renewed the preventive detention of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer for an additional 15 days.

On 9 October 2019, the Supreme Public Persecution in Cairo renewed the preventive detention of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer.

On 30 September 2019, the Supreme Public Persecution of Cairo ordered the 15 day preventive detention of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer. He was transferred on 1 October 2019 to Tora prison (Al-Aqrab prison which is a maximum security prison and is notorious for its inhumane conditions.

On 29 September 2019, Egyptian police arrested human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer at the State Security Prosecution premises in Cairo. His current place of detention is unknown. Several arrests of human rights defenders occurred over the last week in the context of demonstrations demanding the resignation of the Egyptian president Abdelfattah Al-Sisi.

About Mohamed El-Baqer

mohamed_el-baqer.jpgMohamed El-Baqer is a lawyer and human rights defender in Egypt. He is the director of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, which provides legal aid for political detainees and prisoners of conscience, as well as promoting civil and the political rights in Egypt.

23 November 2021
Mohamed El-Baqer’s appeal rejected, human rights defender to remain on terrorist list

On 18 November 2021, the Court of Cessation in Cairo rejected the appeal submitted by Mohamed El-Baqer’s lawyer on his behalf in relation to the decision made on 23 November 2020 by the Criminal Court of Cairo to include the human rights defender as well as others on a list of terrorists. Since then, the human rights defender has not been officially charged. The appeal was submitted by the human rights defender’s lawyer seeing as no final verdict naming Mohamed El-Baqer as a terrorist has been issued on his case with the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court. The human rights defender is scheduled to be heard before the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court on 20 December 2021, in relation to new charges brought against him on 18 October 2021.

The inclusion of Mohamed El-Baqer on the list of terrorists has dire consequences, as the decision can no longer be appealed, except after the expiry of the listing period. The listing period is generally no more than 5 years, during which only the Attorney General would have the power to submit a request to exclude the name of the listed individual.

The human rights defender will be subjected to travel bans, the freezing of assets, and will be banned from practicing civil work, founding or joining associations’ boards and will have to rescind syndicate membership. Even if Mohamed El-Baqer were to be found innocent and released, there is a chance he will not be able to practice law as a result of this decision.

11 November 2021
Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim presented to Court, verdict rescheduled once again.

On 8 November 2021, human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim were presented before the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court for Case No. 1228/2021. The pronouncement of the human rights defenders’ verdict has been rescheduled once again to 20 December 2021 without allowing the defence the chance to advocate for their clients.

On 8 November, both human rights defenders alongside another human rights defender Alaa Abdel Fattah were presented to the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court. As in the previous session, the human rights defenders and their lawyers were not allowed to meet each other nor were they allowed any access to the case files. Mohamed Ibrahim’s lawyer asked to be granted power of attorney to submit a complaint against the court and its violations of legal trial procedures. The judge adjourned the case shortly after this request.

The transfer of the file to the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court means the decision made by the Court is final and cannot be appealed.

20 October 2021
Human rights defenders referred to trial at Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court

On 18 October 2021, human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim had their first session at court after having their case referred to the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court in Cairo. Both human rights defenders had been held in pretrial detention for 2 years in Tora Prison before having their case transferred to the aforementioned court without prior knowledge of the transfer. Their lawyers were prohibited from taking copies of the case file and from meeting with their clients.

On 18 October 2021, both human rights defenders attended the court session alongside another human rights defender Alaa Abdel Fattah for a new case file that replicated the charges held in case no. 1356 of 2019, for which all three defenders were held in pretrial detention for more than 2 years. After the maximum number of years allowed in pretrial detention under Egyptian law were served, the human rights defenders were finally taken to court. The charges included in the file are "membership of a terrorist organisation", "defamation", and "misuse of social media". The Court also charged the defenders with publishing false news that harms the country’s interests.

The transfer of the file to the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court means the decision made by the Court is final and cannot be appealed. The Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court adjourned the trial held on 18 October 2021 until early November 2021.

30 November 2020
Mohamed El-Baqer added to terror list

On 23 November 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo ordered that human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer be added to a ‘terror list' for five years. This will have several legal consequences for the human rights defender, including a travel ban, freezing of his assets, confiscation of his passport and the loss of his right to seek public employment.

Mohamed El-Baqer has been in preventive detention for over one year, with his detention being renewed every 45 days. On 31 August 2020, the State Public Prosecution accused him of being involved in the recently opened case No. 855. As part of this case, he is being accused on a second count of "joining an illegal organisation" and of “being a part of a criminal agreement with the purpose of committing a terrorist act from inside the prison”.

4 September 2020
Moahmed El-Baqer and Esraa Abdel Fattah under investigation for a new case

On 31 August 2020, the State Public Prosecution ordered 15 days preventive detention against human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer and Esraa Abdel Fattah. They are accused on a second count of "joining an illegal organisation" and of “being a part of a criminal agreement with the purpose of committing a terrorist act from inside the prison” as part of the recently opened case No. 855 of 2020.

Mohamed El-Baqer has been under preventive detention since September 2019, and woman human rights defender Esraa Abdel Fattah has been under preventive detention since October 2019. Family visits were banned for both of them since March 2020.

7 May 2020
Detention sentence of HRDs renewed in absentia

On 5 May 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo renewed the detention of human rights defenders Mohamed El-Baqer, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, Mohamed Ibrahim, and woman human rights defender Mahienour El-Masry for an additional 45 days.

The renewal session was held in absentia, without the human rights defenders or their lawyers present. The human rights defenders are being held in prison in inhumane conditions, placing them them at high risk in the context of COVID-19.

The decision to hold the renewal hearing without the presence, even by video link, of the human rights defenders or their lawyers due to COVID-19 restrictions is clearly an attempt to use such restrictions as a way to deny human rights defenders due process.

20 February 2020
Mohamed El-Baqer's preventive detention renewed

On 20 February 2020, the Criminal Court of Tora accepted the Public Prosecution's appeal against the release of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer and renewed his detention for an additional 45 days, without providing any justification. This decision came after the Court ordered his release on 18 February.

The human rights defender was arrested at the State Prosecution on 29 September 2019, when he was attending the interrogation of human rights defender Alaa Abdel Fattah. He is being held at Tora prison and is not allowed to read, send or receive correspondence, or to leave his cell during prison recreation time.

24 October 2019
Mohamed El-Baqer's preventive detention renewed

On 23 October 2019, the Supreme Public Prosecution renewed the preventive detention of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer for an additional 15 days.

11 October 2019
Inhumane detention conditions for Mohamed El-Baqer

On 9 October 2019, the Supreme Public Persecution in Cairo renewed the preventive detention of human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer. Since his arrest on 29 September 2019, Mohamed El-Baqer has been facing inhumane conditions at Tora prison, the maximum security prison where he is being held. In addition to being denied access to clean water, personal hygiene items and shower facilities, he must also remain in his cell during prison recreation time, where he receives meals far below the standard of those served at the prison canteen. Most urgent of Mohamed El-Baqer’s requests is to receive medical attention for the back injuries he has sustained from being forced to sleep on the floor of the cell. He continues to be denied any such assistance.

 

30 September 2019
Arrest of Mohamed El-Baqer and other HRDs

On 29 September 2019, Egyptian police arrested human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer at the State Security Prosecution premises in Cairo. His current place of detention is unknown. Several arrests of human rights defenders occurred over the last week in the context of demonstrations demanding the resignation of the Egyptian president Abdelfattah Al-Sisi.

Mohamed El-Baqer is a lawyer and human rights defender in Egypt. He is the director of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, which provides legal aid for political detainees and prisoners of conscience, as well as promoting civil and the political rights in Egypt.

On 29 September 2019, Mohamed El-Baqer was arrested at the State Prosecution, when he was attending the interrogation of human rights defender Alaa Abdel Fattah. Several police officers surrounded and then arrested him, after which he was taken to an undisclosed location. Family and lawyer visits are not being allowed. He is facing charges of “joining and financing a terrorist organisation”, “defamation”, and “using social media for illegal activities”.

This is not the first time Mohamed El-Baqer is being harassed by the Egyptian authorities. Last week, there was an attempt to arrest him at the State Security Prosecution premises while he was accompanying one of his clients. In January 2014, Mohamed El-Baqer was arrested for several months on charges of “demonstrating without a permit”.

The Egyptian Commission of Rights and Freedoms documented more than 2200 arrests in connection with the anti-regime demonstrations which commenced on 20 September 2019. The mass arrests include human rights defenders Sahar Ali, Mahienour El-Masry, and Asmaa Dabees.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the ongoing crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in Egypt. Mohamed El-Baqer and other human rights defenders have been arrested as a direct result. These arrests are believed to be solely motivated by the human rights defenders’ peaceful and legitimate work defending human rights in Egypt.