Human rights workers from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights whose arrest and detention on spurious ‘terrorism’ charges sparked a major international campaign were released on 3 December. Leading trade unionists from Britain and Canada were among those who added their voices to the growing pressure on the Egyptian authorities to release the men – EIPR’s director Gasser Abdel Razek and colleagues Karim Ennarah, Mohamed Bashir and EIPR researcher Patrick Zaki, who was detained earlier in the year.
Vicky Blake president of the University and College Union (UCU), Jane Loftus, Vice-President of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), and dozens of members of the UCU and Unison National Executive Committees are among the nationally elected trade unionists backing a statement highlighting the arrests of EIPR staff alongside those of imprisoned socialist laywer Mahienour el-Masry and journalist Solafa Magdy – who are named in the same ‘terrorism’ case as some of the EIPR detainees. The statement also demanded action from the British government, which continues to do business with Egypt’s military rulers.
We call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release the EIPR detainees, Mahiehour el-Masry, Solafa Magdy and all other political prisoners. We demand that the British government condemns the ongoing repression in Egypt and ceases all forms of military and diplomatic cooperation with a regime which systematically violates human rights and political freedoms.Read the full statement and view the signatories online here
Sandy Nicoll, branch secretary of Unison at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London, where Karim Ennarah studied, told Egypt Solidarity that the release of three of detainees was a sign that solidarity campaigns make a difference, but warned against dropping the pressure on the Sisi regime.
The release of EIPR staff members is fantastic news and will be very welcome for their families and for everyone who has campaigned over this during the last few weeks. But we need to keep up the pressure to ensure that all the charges are dropped and the harassment by the authorities comes to an immediate end. We have to keep fighting for the release of all political detainees incarcerated by the this vicious regime.