Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition Urges Egyptian Authorities To Drop Charges Against Azza Soliman

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, of which WLUML is a member, is alarmed that the Prosecutor General at the Qasr El Nile Prosecution Office in Cairo has rejected appeals for lawyer and woman human rights defender Azza Soliman to be listed as a witness rather than a defendant in the case of Shaimaa ElSabbagh, who was killed while peacefully protesting on January 24 2015. 

Ms Soliman witnessed the killing of Shaimaa ElSabbagh because she happened to be in a restaurant located across the street from the incident. She voluntarily gave her testimony at the Prosecution office on the night of January 24, 2015 pointing responsibility of the police for the death of Shaimaa ElSabbagh.

On March 23 2015, the Qasr El Nile Prosecution Office in Cairo changed Ms Soliman’s status from being a witness to the killing of Shaimaa ElSabbagh to a defendant being accused of protesting illegally and breaching public order and security under the Protest Law #107 of 2013.

The accusation reflects the continuing security crackdown on human rights defenders. In addition to Ms Soliman, Nagwa Abbass and 15 members of the member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party who witnessed the killing of Ms ElSabbagh have been charged with unauthorized protesting, and breach of security and public order.

The first session is scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2015 and will be taking place at Abdeen Misdemeanour Court.

The Women Human Rights Defender International Coalition is a resource and advocacy network supporting women human rights defenders worldwide. We have 32 members:

Amnesty International (AI)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM ASIA) The Association for Progressive Communications (APC WNSP) Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB) Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR)
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
Frida the Young Feminist Fund
Front Line Defenders
Human Rights First
Information Monitor (INFORM)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP) Isis International
ISIS Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (ISIS-WICCE)
Just Associates (JASS)
The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) MADRE
Nazra for Feminist Studies
Nobel Women's Initiative (NWI)
Peace Brigades International
Society for Appraisal & Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA)
Rainbow Rights Project (R-Rights)
Urgent Action Fund (UAF)
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)
Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC)
World Organisation against Torture (OMCT)