Aya Mohamed Nabeel Ahmed Hijazi and her husband Mohamed Hassanein Mostafa Fathallah are volunteers who founded and established the Belady Foundation, a well-respected organization based in Cairo that provides a safe haven for street children who have fled their homes and would otherwise be homeless and subject to exploitation.
In May 2014, Mrs. Hijazi and Mr. Hassanein were arrested during a warrantless police raid conducted at the Belady Foundation offices, along with several fellow volunteers. They were accused of seven false criminal charges, including establishing a criminal organization with the purpose of human trafficking and sexually exploiting minors, despite the government’s own forensic medical report on the minors that found no signs of abuse from their time at the Belady Foundation and serious allegations of witness intimidation by police.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has submitted the following petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Mrs. Hijazi and Mr Hassanein on their unlawful detention by the Egyptian government for the past two years.
Their prolonged pretrial detention not only violates Egypt’s domestic law and international human rights obligations, but is emblematic of the growing government crackdown on civil society in Egypt where authorities have increasingly targeted prominent human rights groups, individual defenders, and other independent voices.