Press briefing notes on Egypt / activists imprisoned

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 24 December 2013

The conviction of three prominent Egyptian activists to three years in prison on charges of holding unauthorised protests and assaulting police officers is of great concern. The activists — Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma — were convicted and sentenced on Sunday.

We stress that participation in peaceful protests and criticising the Government should not be grounds for detention or prosecution. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners detained solely in connection with peaceful protests, unless the authorities have solid evidence that they might have been responsible for recognizable criminal offences.

We are closely monitoring the prevailing human rights situation in Egypt, where dozens of individuals, including students, have been arbitrarily detained and some convicted following what appears to be the exercise of their legitimate rights to peaceful assembly and expression under Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by Egypt in 1982.


Ms. Ravina Shamdasani
Communications Section (Media)
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations