Press release, 23.12.2013

Judgment against human rights activists in Egypt

“I am concerned about the yesterday’s judgment against three Egyptian human rights activists. It is crucial that the Egyptian authorities respect democractic principles in this critical period prior to the elections and referendum on the constitution,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The Egyptian authorities have taken action against democracy and human rights activists on several ocasions recently. Yesterday, three prominent activists – Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel – were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, and last week, employees and volunteers at the Centre for Economic and Social Rights were arrested in connection with a raid. A referendum on an amended constitution is to be held on 14 and 15 January, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

“The fact that the authorities are taking action against individuals and organisations that are known for their work for democracy and human rights is a worrying development. The right to take part in peaceful demonstrations is fundamental to democracy, as is freedeom of expression,” said Mr Brende.