A file photo for the protest in solidarity with Arafat and his colleagues organized by S.I Cobas last week (Photo: Si Cobas)
The Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development (ECHD) denounced on Thursday the measures taken by Italian authorities against Egyptian-Italian Union activist Mohamed Arafat.
Arafat, an Egyptian national who is a prominent leader of the Italian Si Cobas trade union, is currently under house arrest along with his family over his participation in a protest in solidarity with the workers of FedEx-TNT in Piacenza, Italy, according to ECHD.
Arafat and other three prominent labour activists were arrested on 1 February during a protest against FedEx-TNT’s decision to lay off hundreds of employees.
The activists face a number of charges including occupying public land, aggravated assault against public officials and inciting violence.
According to the ECHD, Arafat and others were arrested after Italian police dispersed the protest violently.
According to local news reports from Piacenza, the city has witnessed protests in solidarity with Arafat and his colleagues.
Basma Fouad, the executive director of the ECHD, said that Arafat is an honest trade union leader who has a long history of defending labour rights, and had never violated Italian law. Fouad added that Arafat merely called on workers to protest peacefully and has always defended the rights of labourers of all nationalities.
Saeed Abdel-Hafez, the coordinator of the ECHD, has demanded that Italian authorities drop the charges against Arafat and release him from house arrest.