Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned by the ongoing attacks on the freedom of expression in Egypt. As we reported on February 10, civil society activists and translators Kholoud Said and Marwa Arafa have been kept in detention for almost two years and are yet to stand trial. Indefinite pretrial detention has become a widespread practice in Egypt under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s rule. The total number of Egyptian detainees denied a trial and legal representation exceeds 700. Among them is Patrick George Zaki, whose case we have been monitoring for nearly two years.
Kholoud Said is the head of the Translation Unit of the Publication Department of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major cultural organization in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. She was arrested by security forces on April 21, 2020, and charged with “joining a terrorist group” and “spreading false news.” Her pre-trial detention has been extended for 15 days several times back in 2020 and multiple times for 45 days since the summer of 2021. As for now, she has been detained for 22 months without her case being tried in court.
Marwa Arafa is a freelance translator and an activist in the Free the Children initiative advocating for the rights of arrested children. She was arrested by security forces on April 20, 2020, and accused of “joining a terrorist group” and “committing a terrorist financing crime.” After the arrest, her detention was extended multiple times for 15- and 45-day periods. The most recent court rule to keep her in detention without a court hearing was issued on February 6, 2022. During these almost two years of detainment, her now 3-year-old daughter has not been receiving any maternal care.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide calls for the Egyptian authorities involved to drop the charges against Kholoud Said and Marwa Arafa, and release the translators and other indefinitely detained scholars, including Patrick George Zaki. We call upon international organizations, academic and professional associations, as well as individuals devoted to the protection and advocation of human rights and academic freedom, to condemn these arbitrary detentions and urge the Egyptian government to respect and implement the principles and provisions of human rights.