Egypt: Human rights defender Mr Hassan Mustafa sentenced to two years imprisonment

On 12 March 2013, Mansheya Misdemeanour Court in Alexandria sentenced prominent human rights defender Mr Hassan Mustafa to two years imprisonment on charges of allegedly assaulting a member of Alexandria Prosecution Office. Numerous supporters of the human rights defender gathered in front of the Courthouse at the time of the hearing to protest against his trial and demand his release. Hassan Mustafa is a well known human rights defender in Alexandria who has defended the rights of detainees and campaigned on issues such as police brutality and economic rights.

Hassan Mustafa was arrested on 21 January 2013, as he and a group of lawyers and other human rights defenders were enquiring in Mansheya Prosecution Office about the whereabouts of  demonstrators who were arrested two days prior, on 19 January 2013. According to Hassan Mustafa’s lawyer, the Court heard only two out of fifteen defence testimonies, who had witnessed the arrest of the human rights defender and denied that he assaulted the Prosecution Office member. The Court issued the sentence in less than two months, after reportedly reviewing a forensic report stating that the complainant suffered redness on his cheek.

Hassan Mustafa was among the first human rights defenders in Alexandria to work on the cases of demonstrators who were arrested in front of the Mansheya Court on 6 April 2008. The human rights defender was involved in a campaign working on documenting all of the detainees and providing them with advocacy and support. In 2010, Hassan Mustafa joined the political and economic rights movement “Hashd”, which called for a demonstration in May 2010 for the right to minimum wages. He was also one of the organisers of a demonstration against police brutality in 2010 known as the “Khaled Said” case. The human rights defender was reportedly beaten during the demonstration by police and arrested. He subsequently served a reduced sentence of one month imprisonment on charges of assaulting a police officer.

Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the sentencing of Hassan Mustafa, which it believes to be solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in Alexandria. Front Line Defenders also expresses concern at the above mentioned fair trial irregularities, including the hearing of just two out of fifteen defence testimonies.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Egypt to: 

1. Quash the conviction and sentencing of Hassan Mustafa, as Front Line Defenders believes he has been sentenced solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful human rights work;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *