Human Rights Centre in Cairo Under Attack

16:25 GMT

From Cairo, our colleague and friend Ahdaf Soueif (author of The Map of Love, shortlisted for the Booker Prize) sends a disturbing report (3pm Cairo time, 1pm GMT):

A good friend just saw eight to twelve people being dragged out of No 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah St, and bundled into a civilian micro-bus while a military police vehicle waited nearby. The people were being beaten, and the street had been told they were “Iranian and Hamas agents come to destabilise Egypt,” so the street was chanting against them.

No 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah St is the home of the offices of The Hisham Mubarak Legal Aid Centre, The Centre for Social and Economic Rights and The 6th April Youth. My brother-in-law, the lawyer Ahmad Seif works for the Hisham Mubarak Legal Aid Centre.
Please get word out to as many news outlets as you can”.

The Centre has put out more information on the ‘kidnap’ of its staff. 

Robert Sharp, Campaigns Manager at English PEN, said:

In a crisis, writers and human rights activists become very vulnerable.  Those who seek to censor and oppress can use the chaos as a cover for violence.  Journalists and publishers have been beaten and intimidated, and the libraries and museums are under threat.  Now we hear that those seeking to upload and expand the rule of law are being targeted. 

As confusion reigns in Eygpt, everyone else must do what they can to help these human rights campaigners who are in trouble.  We should spread the news of these attacks, and demand that our own government forces the Egyptian authorities protect their citizens’ right to free expression.

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