31 August 2014

Egypt: Confiscation of Books, Puritanical Religious Fatwa & Kidnapping of a Witness in Recent Human Rights Watch Report On Egypt

press release

Cairo — The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), said that yesterday witnessed several blatant violations against human rights and freedoms in Egypt that included confiscation of three books and an update of a religious fatwa for forbidding the chatting between the two genders via the Internet. The most extreme was kidnapping an academic due his testimony in human rights watch report issued two weeks ago with regard to the anniversary of mass murder crime to Rabaa sit-in's participants on August 2013.

The censorship authority confiscated three issues of "Al-Tanweer publishing house" after arriving from the publishing house in Beirut, which is the book of late intellectual "Naser Hamed Abu-Zaid" "Introduction to Semiotics", a study of the french philosopher Alain Badiou "To Praise Love" and the novel of "al-Mabrouma" for the novelist "Rabiee Jaber" without reasons while the rest of the books coming from Beirut, which represents a painful blow to the freedom of expression not just in terms of this confiscation but in the persistence of what is called the censorship authority to work against culture and creativity until now.

In a reminder to the Fatwa issued by al-Azhar Grand- Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayb and the previous Muftai Aly Gomma, who forbid protesting against the previous tyrant Hosni Mubarak as its disobeying the ruler then they rescind it after his downfall, Dar al-Iftaa renewed an old Fatwas that forbids chatting between the two genders via the Internet to ward off its risks on the society "according to the allegations of Dar al-Iftaa", which represents and entrenching a puritanical concepts, lack of awareness and understanding the nature and the importance of technology in the society in particularly the social networks, in its minimum extent that could reach committing to extreme Salfists' concepts that doesn't fit with an entity that millions of Egyptians and Muslims are interested in it.

In a violation of the rule of law and its sovereignty, the security forces kidnapped academic "Mohamed Tarek" who works as an instructor in Science College in Alexandria University and he was detained in unknown place, while his house was stormed and his laptop was seized, without respecting the very new Egyptian constitution which forces the security forces to tell the arrested citizen about the reasons of arrest and allow him to call his lawyer or family on the backdrop of the testimony delivered by him to Human Rights Watch's researchers, that was included in the report of HRW in mid of this August on the massacre of Rabaa titled "All according to plan, the Rab'a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt".

ANHRI communicated with "Fady al-Qady" the spokesman of HRW in MENA, who confirmed the fact of kidnapping the witness- Mohamed Tarek- which isn't just a violation of the constitution but also an intimidation message to the witnesses in facts of human rights violations. It also imposes difficult obstacles in front of the official fact-finding committee that will suffer from challenges to reach the fact as a result of the fear of the witnesses to deliver their testimony and then to be arrested".

ANHRI said "these severe and repeated violations, whether by the state bodies, in particularly, the security services or the semi-official bodies are methodology that are a like or exceeds the exercises of the dictator Mubarak and increases the retention and anger state of a wide sector of the Egyptian society as a result of its variance and expansion, whether wasting personal freedoms or respect the rule of law and constitution".

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