Prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Gamal Eid has recently received calls and a text warning him to “behave,” and the next morning found a car he had borrowed had been vandalized. The assaults on Eid started on October 10 when two armed men in civilian clothes physically assaulted him, which left him with several cracked ribs and injuries to his arm and leg.
His own car had been stolen on September 30, but the police would not investigate.
Eid has been the target of multiple threats, physical assaults, and vandalism since September 30, 2019 that indicate government involvement, Human Rights Watch said today. Eid is the founder and director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).
ANHRI was founded in 2003 to promote freedom of expression and provide legal assistance to activists and journalists. Eid and ANHRI have received numerous international awards for their work on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Egypt.
“The nature of the threats and attacks on Gamal Eid indicate involvement by state security personnel, which Egyptian authorities need to bring to a halt,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “They appear to be part and parcel of the Egyptian government’s campaign of intimidation, harassment, and violence against human rights activists.”
Eid also said that unidentified people stole his own car on September 30. Police officers told him they managed to identify the car in three different CCTV cameras in Cairo, including while it was being towed. Eid said that the police abruptly closed the investigation into the case and that sources told him the case was ordered closed by a “higher sovereign entity,” a term usually referring to a security or intelligence agency.
Eid said he had recently received several threatening phone calls from different numbers. On October 30, he received a call from an Egyptian phone number from a man who said, “Behave yourself, Mr.Gamal.” The man kept calling but Eid did not pick up. The next day, Eid said, he found the car he had borrowed from a colleague vandalized.
On October 16, less than a week after Eid was assaulted, security forces arrested a lawyer from Eid’s organization, Amr Imam, at his home and held him incommunicado for two days, after Imam posted on Facebook that he planned to carry out a hunger strike in protest against the recent arbitrary arrests of prominent activists.
In 2016, Egyptian authorities imposed a travel ban on Eid and a court ordered a freeze on his personal assets and the funds of his organization ANHRI, along with other human rights defenders and organizations. (Source: HRW)