UN Rights Chief condemns arrest of Cairo rights group members

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Ravina Shamdasani

The raid of a Human rights Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and the arrest of six of its members in Cairo, Egypt, mark a worrying escalation in the harassment and intimidation of civil society in Egypt.

That's according to a statement released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday.

At least 50 armed men in civilian clothes raided the office of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights late on Wednesday, the statement reads. They were lat er identified as police and security officers.

Ravina Shamdasani is the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Six people who were working at the centre at the time were arrested and allegedly beaten, and three laptops, files and documents were seized. Two of the laptops were later returned. Five of the individuals arrested were released after some nine hours in custody, during which time they were reportedly mistreated. One prominent human rights defender, Mohamed Adel Fahmi, a member of the April 6th movement, remains in detention, his whereabouts unknown".

The High Commissioner's office has called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release all individuals who have been detained in relation to their work as human rights defenders.

The office adds that the intimidation of political opponents, activists and human rights defenders must be halted.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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