Minority rights campaigner Mina Thabet detained on incitement charges

Ahram Online , Saturday 21 May 2016

A TV still of Mina Thabet while he was hosted by OnTV.

Prominent Egyptian rights campaigner Mina Thabet was remanded in custody for fifteen days on Saturday by prosecutors in Cairo, to be investigated on charges including seeking to overturn the regime and joining a terrorist group.

Thabet, the programme director for minorities and marginalised groups at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, was taken from his home during a raid by plainclothes police in the early hours of Thursday morning, the NGO has said. 

On Thursday a prosecutor ordered him detained for an initial four days, on charges of inciting unlicenced protests, calling for the overthrow of the regime, inciting attacks on police stations, and joining a terrorist group that prevents state insituttions from doing their work, according to ECRF lawyer Doaa Mostafa, who was quoted in the local press.

International rights watchdog Amnesty International condemned the arrest as a "flagrant attack against freedom of expression and association" and in a Thursday release described Thabet as "a pillar of Egypt’s human rights community" who "has tirelessly worked to defend the rights of minority groups, including Coptic Christians."

Thabet is the second employee of the ECRF to be arrested in recent weeks; on 25 April, Ahmed Abdallah, the director of the NGO's board, was arrested at his home. He has since been charged with inciting unlicenced protests, among other offences. 

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