On 21 September 2014 Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was released following the decision of the Alexandria Appeals Court to suspend her sentence after accepting her lawyer’s request to suspend her sentence. The Manshia Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria had originally sentenced El-Massry on 20 July 2014 to six months imprisonment and a fine of EGP 50,000 on charges of unauthorized protest and attacking police officers during the Khaled Said murder retrial on 2 December 2013.
Mahienour El-Massry is a prominent women human rights defender and lawyer, who mainly works in the governorate of Alexandria on Syrian and Palestinian refugee issues, labor and student rights. She also works on documenting and exposing human rights violations committed against women and human rights defenders, as well as being the coordinator and spokesperson of No to Military Trials against Civilians in Alexandria.
The case originally reverts back to a verdict that was upheld for El-Massry and seven other human rights defenders on 20 May 2014 by the Sidi Gaber Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria of two years imprisonment on charges of unauthorized protest and attacking police officers during the Khaled Said murder retrial on 2 December 2013. On 28 June 2014, the Manshia Misdemeanor Appeal Court in Alexandria postponed the issuance of the verdict for the appeal of El-Massry to 20 July 2014, while continuing to detain her at Damanhour Women’s Prison. On 20 July 2014, the Manshia Misdemeanour Court in Alexandria lowered the sentence of El-Massry and other defenders to six months in prison (of which she had completed two months already at the time) and a fine amounting to EGP 50,000.
The WHRDIC welcomes the release of Ms. Mahienour El-Massry but remains seriously concerned at the ongoing targeting of women human rights defenders, including Ms. Yara Sallam, Ms. Sanaa Seif, Ms. Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Ms. Salwa Mihriz, Ms. Samar Ibrahim, Ms. Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo) and Ms. Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh) arrested on 21 June 2014. While the release of El-Massry a positive step, we urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the aforementioned women human rights defenders and drop all charges directed at them stemming from the legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.