Helsinki, 25 February 2019
We want to bring to your attention the situation of seven Egyptian citizens: Mr
Marzouk Masoum , former assistant foreign minister, former journalist and
Ambassador to Finland, Estonia and Uganda and his 6 fellow human rights activists:
Professor of Geology at Helwan University Yahia Al Qazzaz; Economist Raed
Salama; Activist Nermeen Hussein; Activist Amr Mohamed; Professor of
Archaeology Abdel Fattah Saeed El-Banna; Sameh Saudi, head of Union.
We call for the immediate release and fair treatment of these opposition
Following reports on CNN, BBC Arabic, The Times, Al Jazeera and other
media outlets, Mr Marzouk Masoum was taken from his home on 23rd of August
2018 and kept in detention for 15 days accused of ‘complicity with a terrorist group
aiming to undermine the state’s institutions.’
Since then 6 months have passed and the activists are still held in solitary
confinement in a state prison. Concerned for their health, several personalities and
humanitarian associations have made a call to action to change the terrible detention
conditions and for their immediate release.
Urgent action is required- on 2nd of March a court session will decide on
further imprisonment or conditional release.
The official accusation tries to falsely enlist Mr Marzouk as a supporter of the
Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt, and against which Mr Marzouk
wrote many articles, as reported by his family.
The visits are reduced to 30 minutes a week and some had been cancelled
without explanations after families had waited several hours in the scorching sun in
front of the prison.
The arrest came shortly after Mr Marzouk called for a national referendum
regarding President Sisi’s power, only months after he secured a second term as
President. In reality the activists are political prisoners.
As journalists we are increasingly alarmed by executions and unlawful
imprisonments repeatedly reported by international media and by human rights
organisations. Attempts to silence freedom of speech and political opponents in Egypt
have been frequently reported.
Following these widely available reports, President Sisi has won his second
term after banning 5 of his opponents to run in the presidential elections, only
allowing one of his supporters to pose as counter candidate. Under a pretended
popular campaign he is also looking for a change in Constitution to ensure his
position in power after the 2 terms stipulated by law.
We, the European Journalists Network in Finland, branch of the
Association of European Journalists, call on the Egyptian authorities to show
their good will and follow international practices in order to ensure freedom of
speech and fair treatment of members of the opposition.
We equally call onto the European Union members and its institutions to
support our action and call for freedom of expression in Egypt and the freeing of
journalists and political activists.
We join our voices with those of Egyptians requesting the immediate release of
all unlawfully imprisoned people and of the 7 persons detained in case no. 1305 of
2018 opened on August 23, 2018 :
Mr Marzouk Masoum
Professor of Geology at Helwan University Yahia Al Qazzaz
Economist Raed Salama
Activist Nermeen Hussein
Activist Amr Mohamed
Professor of Archaeology Abdel Fattah Saeed El-Banna and
Sameh Saudi, head of Union
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Mr Timo Soini
President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk
President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker
President of the European Parliament, Mr. Antonio Tajani
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet
Secretary General of Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland
European Union members
Members of the Media