Activists from Egypt and Tunisia launched a campaign to release activists detained on protest charges and for opposing regimes in place following the events of the “Arab Spring”.
The campaign called for the release of photojournalist Mahmoud Abo Zeid, known as Shawkan, as well as the release of 6 April founder Ahmed Maher and Tunisian blogger Abdel Fattah Saeed.
The objective of the campaign is to “internationalise” the cases of detained activists in Egypt and Tunisia to press for their release. It publishes accounts of detained activists on its official Facebook page in three different languages, spreading awareness on their cases.
The campaign published accounts of detained Egyptian activists like Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mahienour El-Massry, Esraa El-Taweel and Ahmed Maher. It also recounts the cases of other detained youth and those who have been forcibly disappeared in recent months.
“After publishing news on Tunisian and Egyptian detained activists, it has recently become evident that international pressure plays an effective role in their release,” read the campaign’s statement.
A similar campaign to defend prisoners of conscience in the Arab world was launched in May 2015 by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Maharat foundation in Lebanon in cooperation with Ifex network.
The campaign “Their Freedom is their Right” puts the spotlight on a different Arab prisoner of conscience every month, to keep them from being forgotten.
ANHRI Director Gamal Eid stated that the campaign has been effective so far in achieving results. Eid also mentioned that Amnesty International has adopted the case of Mahmoud Hussein, the “anti-torture T-shirt prisoner”, as a result of this campaign.
Imprisoned for over 600 days, Hussein’s detention has been automatically renewed several times. Hussein was arrested on 25 January 2014, as protests erupted across the country on the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. He faces a list of charges including breaking the protest law and affiliation with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.
ANHRI also supports the Egyptian-Tunisian campaign to release detained activists.