November 10, 2020
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2391 1441
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Mustafa Ali Hassanien, a young film-maker and Cinema Studies student at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. He was arrested on May 14, 2020, and remains in pre-trial detention at Tora Prison, facing accusations such as “spreading false news,” “disturbing public security,” and “belonging to a terrorist organization” which appear to be based on his expression of opinions about your government. Such expressions are protected fundamental human rights and should never be criminalized. He has yet to be formally charged, while his continued detention has been renewed at least seven times.
We are especially concerned as another filmmaker died earlier this year in your government’s custody after two years of detention without trial, and as health risks for incarcerated populations continue to rise due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We write to urge you ensure that Mustafa Ali Hassanien is released immediately and unconditionally. The right to freedom of expression is protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Egypt has been a state party since 1982. As a result, your government is obligated to protect, not punish, the nonviolent exercise of free expression. We urge you to respect and protect the rights of Mustafa Ali Hassanien and see to it that he is freed at once.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Dr. William J. Fritz
The City University of New York
College of Staten Island
Building 1A, Room 404
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
Ahmed Ihab Gamal-Eldin
Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche el-Nile, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2574 9713
Ambassador Yasser Reda
Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 202 244 4319 or 202 244 5131
Phone: 202 895 5400