The Forum 2000 Foundation expresses deep concern over the arrest order issued by the Egyptian authorities for Ahmed Maher (32), blogger, activist and founder of the April 6 Youth Movement. The arrest of Mr. Maher was ordered after he participated in a demonstration outside the Egyptian Parliament on November 26, 2013, against a new law restricting protests. He was accused of inciting protests and many others were detained. We believe that this new law poses a threat to freedom of assembly and enables security forces to use excessive force against demonstrators.
Ahmed Maher participated in the annual Forum 2000 Conference “Societies in Transition” held in Prague in September 2013. In his contributions, Mr. Maher advocated for the respect for democratic principles and the rule of law. As a representative of the civil society in Egypt, he repeatedly stressed the need for an inclusive transition process in his homeland. The arrest order against him by the Egyptian authorities is a clear and warning example of very problematic tendencies of the military regime in Egypt, which is increasingly using the legal system to persecute those who criticize the anti-democratic behavior of the government.
In the light of the above described, we urge Egyptian authorities to revoke the arrest order for Mr. Ahmed Maher immediately. Furthermore, we call on the government in Egypt to respect, protect and promote the right to peaceful assembly and uphold the right to freedom of expression. The Forum 2000 Foundation also confirms its commitment to monitor further developments in Egypt.