Friday 4th April, 2014
Avaaz Staffer deported from Egypt
*Security block 1 million strong petition delivery to Mufti to Save the Egypt 529*
This week, an Avaaz staffer was detained, interrogated for hours, had his computer seized, and was then deported from Egypt after he arrived in Cairo to deliver a petition signed by more than 1 million people calling on the Grand Mufti to reject the mass death sentence of 529 Egyptians.
Avaaz had coordinated a meeting with the Grand Mufti’s office and Imams in Egypt to deliver the campaign. The Mufti had agreed to receive this global outpouring for clemency and compassion. In advance of that meeting, Wissam Tarif who had traveled to the country with a visa, was thrown out of Egypt and a well-respected Egyptian Imam who was to participate in the meeting with the Mufti was summoned by state security and also interrogated about this meeting.
After his deportation, Avaaz campaigner Wissam Tarif said:
“In Egypt today, peacefully delivering a massive petition to a religious leader is deemed a threat to national security. They tried to silence one million voices with my deportation, but our campaign will now intensify to Save the Egypt 529. The Grand Mufti has the power to stop the biggest mass execution this century. An execution that could be the tipping point into a civil war and spark a global security threat. The eyes of the world are on him."
Avaaz Campaign Director Alice Jay said:
“Wissam’s deportation is just a micro example of what is escalating across Egypt. The trial of the Egypt 529 was a show trial, and in just months, Sisi’s regime has banned millions, locked up thousands, and reported to have killed as many as during the Mubarak dictatorship. Field Marshall Sisi is cynically manufacturing a breeding ground for Al Qaeda 2.0. The world must let him know this is unacceptable, and do everything in their power to stop him.”
There are real security threats in Egypt, but targeting supporters of political Islam and systematically forcing them out of the democratic process is a dangerous intentional strategy that could increase radicalisation in Egypt. The security force’s iron fist could fuel extremism that poses a threat to Egypt, and the rest of the world.
The campaign to save the Egypt 529 was launched by global civic advocacy organization Avaaz, and has been signed by over 1.1 million people worldwide, including tens of thousands in the Middle East and North Africa and Egypt. The condemned were all accused of rioting, destruction of property, and killing one police officer. Defense lawyers were barred from the sentencing session, which lasted less than an hour. The campaign can be seen here:
Hundreds of Egyptians have been killed and more than 16,000 arrested since a populist military coup -- targeting the Muslim Brotherhood -- overthrew Mohamed Morsi’s democratically elected government last July. Violent attacks across the country have also increased, raising fears that the country could slip in prolonged civil conflict.
For more information or to organize an interview, contact Sam Barratt on +447909 836139 or email [email protected]
Avaaz is a 34-million-person global civic network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. "Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages. Avaaz members live in every nation of the world - our movement is spread across 194 countries on 5 continents and operates in 16 languages.