Leading figures across the trade union movement in Britain have thrown their weight behind a campaign in solidarity with journalist Hisham Fouad and lawyer Haitham Mohamedain who have been detained by Egypt’s military regime on trumped up charges. Trade Union Congress president Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists Michelle Stanistreet and Jane Loftus, president of the communication workers’ union CWU are among the signatures to a petition calling for Hisham and Haitham’s release which has gathered the support of over 200 trade union activists.
Other activists, journalists and political figures have been seized in the latest crackdown, including former Social Democratic Party MP Ziyad el-Alim, journalist and opposition party spokesman Hossam Moanis, accountant and labour rights activist Hassan al-Barbary, academic Omar el-Shenety, and Ahmed el-Akabawy, a founder of the opposition Istiqlal Party. Amnesty International has also strongly condemned the arrests of Hisham, Haitham and other activists. In a statement on 30 June, North Africa Director of Research Magdalena Mughrabi said:
The latest wave of arrests targeting critics, opposition leaders, activists and journalists under the guise of counterterrorism is part of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic persecution and brutal crackdown on anyone who dares to criticize them. The crackdown leaves no doubt about the authorities’ vision for political life in Egypt; an open-air prison with no opposition, critics or independent reporting allowed.”