11/21/2020 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – The recent arrests of multiple human rights activists associated with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), combined with an increase of blasphemy charges against Christians, shows the worsening state of free speech in Egypt. When there is no free speech nor freedom of conscience, then the ability to pursue human rights activism is severely impacted.
ICC is currently aware of five blasphemy cases impacting Coptic Christians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While details differ, these cases all have a social media component which was used to justify a blasphemy prosecution. Egypt closely monitors and restricts social media as part of their limitations on free speech.
As a human rights organization, EIPR has documented a number of different issues in Egypt, including blasphemy, free speech, and other religious freedom issues. By arresting multiple EIPR staff members, Egypt is sending a clear message to all human rights activists that protecting the vulnerable and defending the wrongly accused is something which will be punished.