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13 NGOs denounce violations against ‘day of land and honour’ defendants

A group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local rights groups strongly denounced the security crackdown on the peaceful anti-government ‘land and honour’ protests that were prompted by the recent maritime demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The joint statement, signed by 13 NGOs, stated 1,277 violations committed against those who had been arrested on charges of inciting protests between 15 and 27 April.

More than 100 were arrested from their homes, streets, local cafes, and public transportations, ahead of scheduled protest against the demarcation decision.

The deal, signed in early April during the visit of King Salman Abdel Aziz to Cairo, would see the sovereignty of two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, transferred to Saudi Arabia.

Several anti-government demonstrations occurred in response. Those arrested were accused of calling for illegal protests, threatening national security, hindering state institutions’ work, inciting violence, and spreading false news.

The arrests have been condemned by members of the Press Syndicate, the general public, and human rights groups.

The statement rejected the defendants’ sessions being held in their detention facility at the Central Security Forces camp. “This deprives them of their right to a fair, transparent trial. There is no need to undertake such exceptional measures against some defendants,” the statement read, referring to the fact that others arrested on similar charges are being tried in front of a court.

Among those arrested were Mohamed Nagy, a researcher at the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), prominent rights lawyer Malek Adly, and lawyer and activist Haitham Mohamden, in addition to students.

According to the statement, those arrested amid the crackdown on the land and honour protests suffer inhuman conditions inside detention facilities including overcrowding inside cells, poor ventilation, lack of exercise, and absence of medical treatment.

Moroever, the NGOs reiterated their call to release the defendants and stop the continued violations to citizens’ basic rights and to hold of those responsible for it accountable, namely the ministry of interior.

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