The Egyptian government has added the names of 81 human rights defenders to its “terrorism list”, drawing condemnation from Egyptian human rights groups who are calling the decision “arbitrary and retaliatory” while warning that it will be used as a tool to silence dissidents.
The Terrorist Entities Law came into effect in 2015 and authorises the organising of lists of terrorists and terrorist entities. The numbers on the list have now swelled to 6,300 and include the late President Mohamed Morsi and prominent activists from the 2011 revolution such as Alaa Abd el-Fattah and human rights lawyer, Mohamed el-Baqer.
On 14 April, the Egyptian Official Gazette listed 81 new additions including several prominent journalists: Moataz Matar; Mohamed Nasser; and Hamza Zawbaa; and a further 32 Egyptian journalists from Al Jazeera; Al Sharq; Mekameleen; Watan; the Rassd Network and other news websites critical of the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Also included on the list is former presidential candidate, Ayman Nour, who was previously a target of surveillance by Sisi’s government. Shortly after the list was issued, Nour’s ex-wife, politician and media personality, Gameela Ismail, found that security forces had raided her sons’ home.
The Arab Media Freedom Monitor (Ikshef) has described the decision as part of broader efforts to silence and intimidate opposition media and dissidents.