3 In response to yesterday’s decision – announced today – by Egypt’s Court of Cassation to uphold its conviction against Amal Fathy, a women’s rights defender who criticized the failure of the Egyptian authorities to protect women from sexual harassment, and sentence her to one year in prison, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Advocacy for the Middle East and North Africa, said:
5 “The court’s decision to uphold Amal Fathy’s conviction and sentence her to one year in prison shows once again that the Egyptian authorities are interested in laundering rather than improving her appalling human rights record. Once again, hopes for justice for an Egyptian human rights defender have been crushed by the country’s patriarchal and shamelessly flawed judicial system.
6 “Criticizing the government’s failure to address sexual harassment is not a crime. No one should be punished, much less imprisoned, for exercising their right to freedom of expression to demand safer environments for women. The Egyptian authorities must ensure that this cruel and unjust sentence is immediately overturned.
7 “In their national human rights strategy, the Egyptian authorities praise their efforts to protect women’s rights, but their actions today show that they are determined to undermine them. The international community must respond urgently by establishing an independent monitoring and reporting mechanism that can investigate the human rights situation in Egypt, including sexual and gender-based violence and the criminalization of those who dare to speak out. her”.
9 Amal Fathy is one of countless victims of the chilling and relentless attack by the Egyptian authorities against human rights defenders who have criticized the country’s human rights record.
10 She was arrested in May 2018 after posting a video on her Facebook page in which she spoke out about sexual harassment and criticized the Egyptian government for its inaction on the issue and for its broader crackdown on human rights. She was later sentenced to two years in prison, confirmed on appeal. She was released on parole in December 2018.