In welcome development, Egypt drops charges against Mozn Hassan
Charges were finally dropped against 2016 Right Livelihood Laureate and prominent women’s rights activist Mozn Hassan and her organisation Nazra for Feminist Studies on October 21, 2021, after years of investigation by Egyptian authorities. Right Livelihood welcomes this development, even though Hassan should not have been charged to begin with.
Hassan was one of the first persons to have official charges directed against her in case 173 of 2011, also known as the “Foreign Funding Case” in Egypt. The case alleged that numerous organisations, including Nazra, were illegally receiving foreign funding. Among the charges brought against her were “inciting and calling for the irresponsible liberation of women,” in a clear act of reprisal against her women’s rights work.
Together with Nazra, Hassan is a women’s rights champion, working tirelessly to nurture young feminists and strengthening the feminist movement in Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa region. They were instrumental in obtaining accountability for acts of sexual violence perpetrated against women during the 2011 revolution in Egypt and ensured that survivors received medical, psychological and legal support.
Throughout all these years, Hassan and Nazra were also targeted with multiple reprisal techniques in relation to the criminal investigation. In 2016, a travel ban was imposed on her, preventing her from participating in international mechanisms and meetings, including the presentation of the Right Livelihood Award in Stockholm. Hassan and Nazra’s assets were also frozen in 2017, dealing a blow to Egypt’s feminist movement. After filing a request to lift the unfair measures imposed on her, Hassan was subjected to judicial harassment as she saw the decision being postponed multiple times before a judge decided to reject her appeal.
Throughout this time, Right Livelihood, together with other organisations, had mobilised efforts internationally to close her case. While the current development comes as a relief, we deplore that to date she has received no notification regarding the lifting of the travel ban and asset freeze. We urge the authorities to ensure that she is immediately relieved from such unfair reprisal measures. Additionally, we call on the Egyptian government to fully close case 173/2011 and ensure that all human rights defenders, including Hassan, can carry out their legitimate work without fear of intimidation and reprisals.
Hassan’s work is essential for the pursuit of women’s rights in Egypt and the MENA region. We hope that the Egyptian authorities will begin implementing real and genuine efforts towards the empowerment of women and their defenders, protecting them against all forms of violence.