On 9 August, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom wrote to Diaa Rashwan, Coordinator of the National Dialogue in Egypt, to express our deep concern about the ongoing detention of:
- Alexandria University Assistant Professor of Political Science, Dr Ahmed Al-Tohamy Abdel-Hay - Read letter
- Helwan University’s former Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr Elsayed Hassan Shehabeldin Abo Zaid - Read letter
- Former Cairo University Engineering Professor Dr Essam Hashish - Read letter
- Egyptian Professor of Engineering Dr Mohamed Ali Beshr - Read letter
- Egyptian scholar Dr Salah Soltan, who is also a resident of the United States - Read letter
The stated aim of the National Dialogue process is to set a course for Egypt’s political, social and economic future in order to support the development of a modern, civil and democratic state. Throughout the process, officials have made claims that diversity, inclusivity and respect are core values for this project. These are values we share, and appear to be in stark contrast with the suppression of academic freedoms, abuses of human rights and failures in upholding constitutional rights as displayed in these cases. Therefore, we believe that it is imperative for the success of the National Dialogue that action is taken on this matter by members of the trustee board.
In the letters we urge the Coordinator and Trustees of the National Dialogue Committee to:
- Unconditionally call upon President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to ensure the release of and dropping of all charges against these scholars and to allow Dr Salah Soltan to return to the United States;
- Immediately call upon the President to ensure the provision of emergency medical care for Dr Elsayed Hassan Shehabeldin Abo Zaid, Dr Essam Hashish, Dr Mohamed Ali Beshr and Dr Salah Soltan in line with Article 56 of the constitution;
- Call for the ending of all acts of harassment against these academics as well as of all academics in Egypt, and demand that they are able to carry out their academic activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals in line with Article 65 of the constitution;
- Work to ensure the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all detained academics in Egypt, and seek for them to be guaranteed unhindered access to family members and to lawyers of their choice; and
- Demand the immediate, independent and impartial investigation into alleged acts of ill-treatment against these academics in order to bring all those responsible before a competent tribunal in accordance with international standards.