Well-known activist and campaigning lawyer Khaled Ali was held by police for questioning on 23 May, in the latest of a series of arrests to hit opposition groups in Egypt. Ali was reported by local media to have been detained at Dokki police station for questioning without formal charges being brought.
Ali is a well-known human rights and labour lawyer, who has championed the cause of workers resisting privatisation and defended scores of political prisoners during the vicious crackdown the military regime. He previously stood for president and is a founder of the left-wing opposition party, Bread and Freedom. Many young activists from the Bread and Freedom party have been seized in dawn raids or summoned by the police for questioning in recent weeks. Local independent news website Mada Masr reports that activists from other parties and organisations including the Dostour Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the April 6 Youth Movement have also been targeted by the police in the recent series of raids.
Charges are often related to vague claims that the detainees ‘incited violence’ or ‘insulted the president’ on social media. Activists say that the real reason behind the raids is to sow fear in the run up to the 2018 presidential election and stop anyone from standing against current president Abdelfattah al-Sisi, the architect of the 2013 coup and its bloody aftermath.
What you can do:
- Send protest messages to the Egyptian embassy in London calling for the immediate release of political prisoners in Egypt and an end to the harassment of opposition groups and activists.