Although there is high prevalence of early marriage in Egypt and many Arab countries, research on the issue is still limited in number and in influence. There has been increasing concerns regarding this issue specifically with the rise of the current political Islamists after the January 2011 revolution and the escalating discussions in the media on removing the minimum age of marriage and non-compliance with the law that states that girls and boys should not get married before the age of 18 and calling to delete this article from the amendments of the Child law in 2008.
Fears have increased among workers in the field of human rights in general and the rights of women and children in particularin this year that ended with the Constitution of 2012. Despite the objection on the criteria for establishing the Constituent Assembly of the Constitution (the first and second) yet the organizations concerned with the rights of women and those concerned with the rights of the child initiated the so-called community dialogue, which did not get anywhere in application beyond listening committees and receiving proposals without discussions from the members of that committee. Along with that the human rights organizations submitted proposalsregarding women’s rights and children in the Egyptian constitution and in accordance with international conventions ratified by Egypt. Unfortunately, all efforts went in vein and we received the incomplete constitution that does not guarantee protection required neither for women nor children.
Therefore, we immediately started a research on the issue of early marriage, which was postponed because of the subsequent events that have been taking place after the 2011 revolution, and the importance of engaging in it. We immediately put the issue back on our agenda and supported the research with a documentary on the same issue to reflect how the Egyptians view the issue of marriage of boys and girls.
The undersigned organizations call for an immediate, independent investigation into growing claims of the brutal torture and sexual assault of detainees held in prisons and police stations in Egypt after their arrest in demonstrations on January 25th, the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.
We ask that the estimated 1,000 detainees undergo an immediate medical exams and that a delegation of the undersigned organizations be permitted to conduct an independent, unconditional visit to detention facilities and meet with detainees.
Many detainees have testified to torture and sexual assaults by police that go beyond the routine abuse meted out in cases of mass arrests following demonstrations. These testimonies also exceed complaints from detainees arrested in the last six months, during which hundreds have been arbitrarily arrested, particularly in the months of August, September and October.
December 23, 2013
The undersigned organizations condemn the verdict issued Sunday December 22nd, 2013, by the Abdeen Court in case number 9593 for 2013 Misdemeanor Abdeen Cases, against Ahmed Maher, the previous Coordinator of April 6 Youth Movement; Mohamed Adel, the Media Representative of the same movement, and volunteer in the media unit of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR); and Ahmed Doma, Political Activist and previous member of the High Council for Culture, where the aforementioned were sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined 50,000 Egyptian Pounds, each. This verdict has been issued after the court indicted them with charges, including organizing a demonstration without prior notice and attacking central security forces’ officers assigned to protect the premises of the Abdeen Courts Complex. The verdict goes back to the Saturday, November 30th, 2013, clashes, which took place infront of the court complex, where Maher went to turn himself in and appear before the Abdeen prosecution office, which had issued an order for him to appear before the prosecution office to undergo an investigation regarding charges associated with calling for a demonstration in front of the Shura Council, protesting against the draft constitution, which allows for military trials for civilians, without informing the security bodies. The shura council demonstration was dispersed by the security forces on November 26, 2013, and resulted in the arrest of tens of demonstrators then, while 25 of the demonstrators arrested were later transferred to the criminal court, including renowned activist Alaa Abdel Fattah.
To them, to their families and to their friends.
To those who dedicated the light of their eyes to light the Revolution’s path.
To those who chose insight over sight.
To those who chose martyrdom over life in indignity.
To those who defeated the torturers in their fortifications.
To those who pledged that the martyrs’ blood will not have been spilled in vain.
To those who remained in Tahrir Square when political deals were being made behind closed doors.
To those who stood their ground in the prisons and torture chambers of the State Security Police.
These are some of your words bearing witness over their crimes that not only included the murdering of at least 48 martyrs, totally destroying the eyes of tens of people and injuring the eyes of hundreds, but extended to their favorite pastime - torture ... they tie their hands, blindfold them, and hide behind hundreds of soldiers armed with rifles, batons and tear gas to practice their “cowardice” in an attempt to break those who defeated them on the streets by torturing them in closed dungeons.
These are some of your words awaiting the day of judgment, which will come sooner than the torturers hope.
On the first anniversary of the battle of “Liberty Martyrs Street” (previously known as Mohammad Mahmoud Street)
His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League,
The below mentioned feminist and human rights organizations have expressed indignation at the announcement of the 9 month jail sentence and the travel bans placed on Saudi activists Fawzeya el Awani and Wageeha el Heweedar. The accusation was that they assisted a Canadian woman who was married to a Saudi man, to escape a situation of domestic violence that included her and her children being withheld food for several days. The activists attempted to intervene and visited the home while the husband was away and had left them without food, and they were arrested by the Damam police. They were accused of attempting to help the wife escape the household and during the trial were said to have been “striving to break households”.
Fawzeya el Aweeny explained “There is a Canadian lady married to a Saudi man who’s mother has been trying to contact me and my colleague via email’ as we are women rights defenders, and she told us how her daughter is being subjected to violence as he is locking her and her children up and deprive them from anything to eat or drink”.
This is a brief report summarizing what happened in the past year. But it is not a Gregorian year or a Hijri year; Morsi and the reign of Muslim Brotherhood are imposing a new calendar on us. Mohamed Morsi began to govern the country after what was described as the first fair presidential election, in which he came out ahead of his rival, Ahmed Shafik, by a small margin...or so we are told...and he would not have been victorious if the voters had not carried 30 years of injustice and oppression from the reign Mubarak and his men in their hearts...and six months of memories of bloodshed and horrific torture in military prisons under the rule of the military, who were appointed and commissioned by the ousted president himself presidential... Morsi won, and he would not have won if the remaining political forces had been more concerned with the future of the country rather than the temptation of the throne. But at the end Morsi became the first civilian elected president in Egypt, and the people waited for the implementation of his promises: commitment to the demands of the January 25th revolution, the reprisal of the murderers of the revolutionaries, and end to corruption, the purging and restructuring of the Ministry of Interior and a new constitution expressing the interests and hopes of the people.
In the second year of the revolution, torture is still going on, Egyptian’s blood is still shed and the actors are free and at large.
The responsibility of torturing and killing the Egyptians in 2012 is distributed between the military council that ruled the country until 30 June 2012 and Dr Mohamed Morsi who took over the presidency at the same day as the first elected civilian president by a narrow margin against his rival, Ahmed Shafik, after which he ruled alone with his party!
The 16 months during which the military council ruled the country witnessed extremely violent attacks on Egyptians who practiced forms of group protests demanding the determination of the political, social and economic goals of the revolution. These attacks involved arresting, torturing and bringing thousands to stand before military courts, as well as, armed attacks on protestors and demonstrators where hundreds of martyrs were killed. The army, central security forces and civilians taking orders from all security and intelligence apparatuses in the country participated in these attacks where in most cases the actor was referred to as the “third party”.
In the first half of 2011 the country witnessed the last massacre of the military council, the Abasseya massacre, in which eleven martyrs were killed, dozens were injured and kidnapped in addition to hundreds of detainees.