Sixteen rights groups and 45 public figures have called for the immediate release of writer and researcher Hisham Gaafar, chairman of Mada Foundation NGO, decrying his arrest which has exceeded 100 days.
In a joint statement on Friday, organizations including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned “the continuous intransigence by investigation authorities, as well as the refusal to show lawyers the documents of the case but informing them about the developments, although 100 days have passed since the detention of their client”.
The statement, signed by several public figures including Alaa al-Aswany, Bassem Youssef, Wael Ghoneim and others, considers this a violation of laws, especially considering that Gaafar’s request to be referred to the hospital’s prison was rejected, despite his deteriorating health.
The statement added that this represents a clear assault against the freedom of scientific research granted by the Constitution and that the necessity to have security approval before conducting scientific research is regarded as an excuse for security services to intervene in the circulation of information.
It stressed that such a case is considered a threat against the freedom of NGO work, saying that the attack against the Mada foundation proves that NGOs will always be threatened.
The statement also called for the release of Gaafar, saying that such policies that allegedly fight terrorism and protect public security have failed in achieving the goals, becoming instead a pretext for security intervention. These policies confiscate the freedom of expression in a way that violates the Constitution, as well as international standards.