Ägypten: Der PEN fordert weiterhin die Freilassung des Bloggers Alaa Abd El Fattah

Alaa Abd El Fattah (Quelle PEN International)

In der letzten Woche jährte sich die Haftstrafe von Alaa Abd El Fattah zum zweiten Mal. Aus diesem Grund bekräftigt der internationale PEN seine Forderung, den Blogger endlich freizulassen. Er wurde am 23. Februar 2015 – nach der Wiederaufnahme seines Verfahrens – zu fünf Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt, da er gegen ein Gesetz verstoßen haben soll, das friedliche Demonstrationen einschränkt. Der internationale PEN befürchtet, dass er einzig wegen seiner friedlichen Ausübung des Rechts Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit verhaftet wurde und fordert deshalb seine sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung.

Außerdem ist der internationale PEN zutiefst entsetzt darüber, dass Abd El Fattah und andere Gefangene im Tora Gefängniskomplex B (wo Abd El Fattah inhaftiert ist) – abgesehen von Lehrbüchern für Studienzwecke – keine Bücher erhalten dürfen. Die Mindeststandards der Vereinten Nationen für die Behandlung von Gefangenen besagen, dass Freizeit- und Kulturaktivitäten bereitgestellt werden sollten und dass die Gefangenen einen Kontakt mit der Außenwelt erhalten sollten. Dazu gehört die Möglichkeit zur Korrespondenz mit der Familie ebenso wie ein Zugang zu Zeitungen, Zeitschriften oder besondere institutionelle Publikationen. Der internationale PEN ist der festen Überzeugung, dass Bücher und Zeitungen für die Gedankenfreiheit und einer Bereicherung von Kultur und Bildung wesentlich sind und fordert deshalb die Behörden auf, dass Alaa Abd El Fattah und alle anderen Gefangenen im Tora Gefängniskomplex B Bücher und andere gedruckte Materialien, wie Zeitschriften und Zeitungen, erhalten dürfen.

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Schreiben Sie Protestbriefe an die ägyptischen Behörden:

  • Protestieren Sie gegen die anhaltende Gefangenschaft von Abd El Fattah;
  • Fordern Sie die sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung von Alaa Abd El Fattah und von allen anderen, die derzeit in Ägypten im Zusammenhang mit der friedlichen Ausübung ihres Rechts auf Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit verhaftet wurden, (obwohl Ägypten den Internationalen Pakt über bürgerliche und politische Rechte unterzeichnet hat);
  • Fordern Sie die Behörden auf, dass Alaa Abd El Fattah im Gefängnis regelmäßig Bewegung und frische Luft gewährt wird und dass er und alle anderen Gefangenen im Tora Gefängniskomplex B Zugang zu Büchern und allen anderen gedruckten Medien erhalten. Zudem muss ihnen die Möglichkeit zu persönlicher Korrespondenz gewährt werden, was ebenfalls in den Mindeststandrads der Vereinten Nationen festgeschrieben ist.

Schreiben Sie an: 

S.E. den Botschafter von Ägypten
Herrn Badr Ahmed Mohamed Abdelatty
Stauffenbergstr. 6/7
10785 Berlin

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN) 

Alaa Abd El Fattah was one of the very first bloggers in Arabic and was the first to aggregate blogs coming out of Egypt. He has always worked for freedom of expression whether in his writing or in his work designing open-source digital software. His popular blog — established with his wife, Manal—helped spark a community of bloggers in the Arab World committed to the promotion of free speech and human rights.

He was one of the first Egyptian netizens seeking to facilitate a movement for political change in the wake of the January 2011 uprising, and he started a nation-wide people’s initiative enabling citizen collaboration in the drafting of the Egyptian Constitution. He was later among the many activists and political activists to fall foul of the controversial November 2013 law banning peaceful protest without government permission.

Following his arrest in June 2014, Abd El Fattah staged a partial hunger strike in prison, drinking only juice and other fluids. He was released on bail in 2014 having spent 115 days in prison. He was re-arrested at the resumption of his trial in October 2014 and sentenced four months later to five years in prison. He has three years still to serve. The United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in its opinion delivered in June 2016 found that he was arbitrarily detained as a result of his exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and his participation in a peaceful demonstration on 26 November 2013.

Meanwhile, the authorities have sought to bring new charges against him, in relation to comments made on social media and in interviews with the press, in what appears to be an attempt to extend his detention and to deter others from speaking out.

Abd El Fattah has been gradually denied access to books, pens, and paper since his imprisonment. In response to the severe restrictions on his right to read and receive information and correspondence, the Egyptian Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), brought a case to the Administrative Court (No 20107/2017). They requested a stay of the authorities’ decision to forbid Abd El Fattah to receive magazines and periodicals relating to his profession; that he be allowed to receive two daily newspapers at his own expense; and to ensure that he regularly receives his personal correspondence. It also asked the authorities to provide reasons for withholding correspondence, books and printed material. The administrative court examined the first hearing of the case on 21 February. However, according to Abd El Fattah’s aunt, renowned Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif, his family was told on 27 February – at the main gate of Tora Complex B – that all books (apart from textbooks) were now generally banned for all prisoners in the Complex. Abd El Fattah’s family believes this was in response to a statement the family published on the two-year anniversary of his imprisonment on 23 February 2017, which referenced the lawsuit.

PEN believes that prisoners should be able to receive reading materials including books and newspapers. Books and newspapers are essential for the transmission of thought and enrichment of culture and education. Writers that PEN has campaigned on behalf of have written moving messages on the important role books play in detention.

PEN Centres have been actively campaigning on behalf of Abd El Fattah. Abd El Fattah is an Honorary Member of Austrian PEN. English PEN will be highlighting his case at the English PEN Modern Literature Festival where poet Mischa Foster Poole will perform a new piece in his honour.

PEN’s work on Egypt

The climate for free expression in Egypt has deteriorated sharply in recent years. PEN passed a Resolution on Egypt at its 82nd World Congress and noted with concern the rise in the number of writers and journalists who have been detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, including during journalistic, artistic, or human rights work. For example, in January 2016, the poet Fatima Naoot was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on charges of ‘contempt of Islam’ and ‘disturbing public peace’ for a comment made on Facebook criticising a traditional Islamic celebration. In November 2016, an appeals court reduced and suspended the three-year prison sentence to six months. Naoot is appealing the decision as the suspension does not mean she has been acquitted of the charges.

PEN has also campaigned on the case of journalist and novelist Ahmed Naji, who was sentenced to two years in prison in February 2016 for ‘violating public modesty’ in relation to the publication of excerpts from his 2014 novel Istikhdam al-Haya (The Use of Life). On 18 December 2016, a Court suspended Naji’s sentence pending his appeal, which has now been scheduled for 2 April 2017.

Internationally acclaimed poet Omar Hazek was banned from leaving Egypt in January 2016 to accept an Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression. In early February 2017, Hazek was detained alongside fellow activists and questioned for five hours, before being released.

PEN continues to call for the Egyptian authorities to protect the rights of all Egyptians to freely express their views, whether as citizens, journalists, or writers, as protected under the Egyptian Constitution and as per Egypt’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).