Woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif starts a hunger strike

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition has grave concerns for the wellbeing of Ms Sanaa Seif, a prominent Egyptian Woman Human Rights Defender, who began a hunger strike on 28 August 2014 to protest the Protest and Public Assembly Law. Ms Seif is currently being held in Qanater prison.

Ms Seif was one of seven women defenders who were arrested on 21 June 2014 while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of the law, which essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.

Yara Sallam, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh) also remain in custody awaiting trial, which has been set for 13 September 2014.

Ms Seif’s decision to begin the hunger strike has been prompted by the death of her father, human rights defender Mr Ahmed Seif El-Islam and continued imprisonment of her brother, human rights defender Mr Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who also began an open hunger strike on 18 August 2014.

The WHRDIC urges:

•    Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 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.
•    Egyptian authorities to take all measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ms. Sanaa Seif and the other women human rights defenders.

For more information

WHRDIC statement:
Coalition condemns arrest of WHRDs in Cairo

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