Egypt: Actress and activist Eman Al-Helw, detained and charged
Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights (ANKH) is writing with regards to the case of Eman Al-Helw, whom we are officially representing in Europe and writing on her behalf.
On 28 February 2019, Egyptian actress and activist Eman Al-Helw was arrested alongside over 70 others in an ongoing arrest campaign sparked by social media users’ criticism of the government and calls for protests in the aftermath of a deadly train crash at Ramses Station that killed 25 and injured 43.
The defendants are investigated under the Case 1739/2018. Eman Al-Helw is an Egyptian actress and activist who has been calling for protests in solidarity with the victims and their families of the Ramses train accident. She has denounced the State’s approach to dealing with the accident and has called for those responsible for the accident, which caused the deaths of around 25 people, to be held to account.
She was first detained in an undisclosed location for four days before appearing at the State Security Prosecution on March 4, 2019, at which time the prosecution remanded Al-Helw and others to custody for 15 days on charges of participating in a terrorist group and using an internet account (Facebook) to commit a crime punishable by law On March 18, the Prisons’ Authority forced Al-Helw to undergo a full external physical examination and inspection of her genitals, conducted by doctors at a general hospital, against her will and without medical grounds, which constitutes a clear assault on her bodily and psychological safety. Being a woman, Eman also suffers from discrimination and harassment from the Egyptian authorities.
We urge the authorities in Egypt to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Eman Al-Helw and the others detained under the Case 1739/2018 and drop all charges;
2. Ensure that the treatment of Eman Al-Helw, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all political activists, and artists in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate activities and express themselves freely without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.