Egyptians Outraged Following Arrest of Popular Feminist Azza Soliman

Fredrick Ngugi December 09, 2016
The arrest of Egyptian women's rights lawyer Azza Soliman has angered human rights activists in the country. Photo Credit: TEDxCairo

Human rights activists in Egypt are furious following Wednesday’s arrest of popular attorney Azza Soliman, who is the founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). Activists have condemned Soliman’s arrest saying it marks a “chilling escalation” of pressure on civil society organizations.

The women’s rights lawyer is one of many activists, lawyers, and journalists who have reportedly been banned from leaving Egypt during the past month.

On Wednesday, CEWLA sent out a series of tweet’s regarding Soliman’s arrest:

The account also tweeted support for Soliman in November after she was banned from traveling and her assets were frozen:

Soliman was arraigned in court on Wednesday and later released on a $1,100 bail, but it is still not clear what she was charged with.

Clampdown by Government

In September, an Egyptian court issued an order to freeze assets of five prominent local human rights activists and three NGOs.

The majority of NGOs in Egypt, especially those involved in human rights work, are currently under investigation by the government, which has accused them of receiving funds from foreigners in order to instigate anti-government protests.

“The crackdown on [human] rights intensifies in Egypt with more NGOs [and] activists to be investigated in foreign funding case,” Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, Tirana Hassan, tweeted in April.

Soliman’s arrest comes at a time when Egyptian NGOs and media stations are crying foul at what they believe is the government’s attempt to clampdown on their freedom of speech by accusing them of provoking the 2011 civil uprising that ended three decades of former President Hosni Mubarak’s reign.

Many Egyptians accuse the current regime of advancing the same ideologies and practices their relatives and friends died for in the 2011 revolt.

Most veterans in the struggle say they’ve lost their revolutionary enthusiasm after being worn-down by the continued crackdown and increased brutality of Egyptian police.

However, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has justified the crackdowns, saying they help mitigate extremism and terrorism.




Last Edited by:Charles Gichane Updated: June 19, 2018


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