The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) published a report Tuesday in which it called for an end to the persecution of political opponents by the government.
The report expressed concern that Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdullah issued arrest warrants for five prominent activists for their supposed role in inciting violence in the recent clashes near the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam.
EOHR said the decision to arrest the five activists is political, and came shortly after President Mohamed Morsi threatened to crack down on known political figures, the media and anyone involved in the recent violence.
Amr Imam, a human rights lawyer working at the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, said he believes the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi want to send a message to the opposition through the arrests. “There is definitely a relationship between Morsi’s comments and Tuesday and Wednesday’s arrests,” he said.
The prosecution issued the arrest warrants after receiving complaints connecting opposition figures to the recent violence. EOHR said prosecutors have a list of 167 names of opposition members who are to be summoned for investigations. Included in the list are prominent opposition figures such as National Salvation Front leader and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.
“The organisation emphasises that what happened is a gross violation of rights and public freedoms in Egypt, specifically the decision to issue an arrest warrant without first summoning the accused for questioning,” EOHR said.
Hafez Abu Saeda, head of EOHR, said the decision to issue arrest warrants is a serious violation of fundamental freedoms and is an attempt to threaten the opposition by way of force in order to exclude them from the political scene. “There are laws being discussed by the Shura Council concerning the division of electoral constituencies and political rights, demonstrations and the nationalisation of the civil society and it seems these threats are made in order to allow these laws to pass without any real opposition,” he said.
EOHR concluded the statement by demanding Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki appoint an investigative judge to investigate all the reports surrounding the violence that took place outside the presidential palace and attacks on journalists in Moqattam. EOHR also demanded an end to the arbitrary measures taken against the opposition.