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Trial of human rights activist 'based on scant and dubious evidence'

Another female activist arrested after a protest in June is currently on hunger strike.

Yara Sallam
Yara Sallam
Image: amnestylondon via Flickr

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IS calling for the release of a women’s rights defender in Egypt and other activists who are due to stand trial today for defying the country’s laws on protesting.

Human rights defender Yara Sallam and another activist Sanaa Seif are among 22 people facing trial on charges of taking part in a gathering aimed at threatening “public peace” and damaging property.

Amnesty claims the woman was not even participating in the protest in question, which had been marching to the presidential palace, and therefore the charges are “baseless”.

Yara Sallam had been walking in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis where the protest was taking place on the evening of 21 June with her cousin. She was buying water from a kiosk when she and her cousin were arrested. Her cousin was released the next day but Yara Sallam was kept in detention after security forces discovered she works at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

Amnesty International said it considers her a “prisoner of conscience” who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

“This appears to be yet another show-trial based on scant and dubious evidence that is intended to be a clear warning to anyone who defies Egypt’s protest law,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“The case provides the latest proof of the Egyptian authorities’ determination to quash peaceful protest and stifle all forms of dissent. No one should be detained for peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression and assembly.”

Source: LeilZahra via YouTube

The other activist in question, Sanaa Seif is currently on hunger strike to protest the authorities’ refusal to allow her to spend time with her father during his final days. The well known human rights lawyer died last month.

Eleven other activists including Sanaa’s sister, the well-known activist Mona Seif, are also on hunger strike to object to the policy of detaining human rights defenders in the country.

Read: Seven men arrested in Egypt over ‘gay marriage’ video> 

More: Ibrahim Halawa beaten with metal chain in Egyptian prison, says sister>

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