It was a video Fathy posted on Facebook a few days before the arrest that got her in trouble. In the video, she was telling her own story of sexual harassment: how she was harrassed by the security personnel of her bank. She also criticised the Egyptian government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment. She also criticised more generally the crackdown on political opposition in Egypt and the socioeconomic conditions inthe country.
Results for Tag: Human Rights
Merzoug Touati was arrested in Béjaïa in January 2017 and subsequently accused of ‘incitement to non-armed gathering’, ‘foreign intelligence aimed at harming diplomatic ties’ and ‘incitement to gatherings and sit-ins in public spaces’. In May 2018, he was found guilty of ‘communicating with intelligence agents of a foreign power that could be harmful for the military or diplomatic situation of Algeria or its essential economic interests’,
Social media users with more than 5,000 followers are subject to charges such as ‘spreading false news’ and ‘inciting against the state. However, several hundred journalists signed an online statement rejecting the laws, specifically criticizing the sweeping powers granted to the media regulatory bodies, which control the selection of media chairpersons and chief editors and can suspend publications or broadcasts, revoke media licenses, and monitor and remove personal social media accounts.
The UAE is also implicated in abuses against detainees in UAE-controlled prisons in Yemen, according to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. The human rights organization says that hundreds of detainees in Yemen have been subjected to physical and sexual torture as well as mass assault in prisons run by armed groups from the UAE, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebellion.
The arrest comes at the same time that Saudi Arabia has detained a number of prominent women’s rights activists, ironically just ahead of the date set to lift the ban on women driving in the kingdom. The arrests of both the activists and al-Rashid have provoked an outcry from rights groups and a statement of concern from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but so far international action has been limited.
Some see in the arrests and smear campaign against the activists an attempt to erase the history of hard-fought grassroots struggle by women demanding reforms. Others have suggested that the arrests were a tactic by the crown prince to appease more conservative elements in Saudi society who may be upset by the erosion of religious authority, including the reining in of the religious police.
At a time when the increasingly powerful Saudi crown prince is promoting his openness to economic and some social reforms, al-Nafjan and other activists are fighting for women’s rights that go beyond the lifting of the driving ban. Yet their arrest is a clear sign that further improvements in women’s rights are a long way off.
Women’s rights activists are ironically being punished for pushing the same agenda that led Saudi Arabia to lift the driving ban in the first place – and been praised internationally for it. However, the arrests are looking increasingly like a way to silence the activists in order to avoid having to give more rights to women.
“The human rights situation is the worst it has been in the country’s modern history,” Khalid Ibrahim, director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, told Fanack. “There is no one to speak up, no space for civil society. Most of the prominent human rights defenders are in jail, sometimes tortured, have fled the country or are banned from leaving it if they work with the international community.”