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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Freeze of EOHR activities and activists

3 December 1998

Statement issued following the emergency meeting
 of the EOHR Board of Trustees

In protest against the fierce campaign against the EOHR and its secretary

On Wednesday 2 December 1998, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
(EOHR) Board of Trustees held an urgent meeting to discuss the EOHR stance
towards the campaign launched against the organization, its officials,
staff members and secretary general, Hafez Abu Seada. 

After a thorough discussion, the Board reasserted what it said in its 26
November 1998 meeting that there is absolutely no relation between the
check for US$ 25,703 issued by the British Embassy and the activities
carried out by the organization in documenting human rights violations in
Al-Kosheh village, Sohag. The Board asserted also that there are no
suspicions of any legal irregularities that would permit subjecting the
organization's secretary general, Hafez Abu Se'da, its officials or staff
members to any form of legal accountability.

In the light of these facts, the Board believes that the case against the
EOHR and its secretary general is one of opinion related to the activities
it has been carrying out since its establishment in 1985 in monitoring
human rights violations and bringing attention to them, activities which
have been inspired by the unchangeable values of the Egyptian culture and
internationally recognized human rights standards.

The Board was informed of the proceedings of the interrogations with Hafez
Abu Se'da, who clarified to the interrogator the circumstances of the case
and explained that the EOHR has all the documents to prove the soundness of
its stance and that his innocence in/of the charges brought against him. At
the meeting, sister human rights organizations expressed to the Board 
their solidarity as well as their grave concern for the unjustifiable
campaign faced by the EOHR, a campaign aimed to abort its activities in
protecting human rights and disclosing the violations. The Board asserted
its strong appreciation of the stance of all these organizations.

After discussing the fierce campaign faced by the EOHR, its officials,
staff members, and secretary general, and based on what transpired to the
Board in light of the decisions it made on its 26 November 1998 meeting, it
was concluded that this campaign aims to terrify the EOHR and eradicate its
role in defending human rights and disclosing - impartially and faithfully
- violations that were reported by all. And after the Board discussed what
is perceived by every body, i.e. that the circumstances are not suitable
for freedom and democracy to thrive, for rights and freedoms to be
exercised, and to be able to do productive work in human rights, in light
of all the above, the Board decided the following:

To freeze the EOHR activities and its activists all over the country; and
to call for a general assembly, to be convened after no more than three
months, that will discuss and reconsider this decision. The Board of
Trustees however states that this freeze will not stop its continuous work
to face the current crisis and take whatever procedures it believes
appropriate, and that it will be considered in a state of permanent meeting
for this purpose, asserting at the same time that EOHR's internal and
external relations will continue.

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This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.