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02/14/2020 Egypt (International Christian Concern) –  Yet another human rights defender has been arrested and temporarily disappeared in Egypt. An Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) researcher, Patrick George Zaki, was stopped in the Cairo airport on February 7th during his return home from abroad. He disappeared for 24 hours and was subjected to interrogation and torture. His list of charges is quite extensive. It includes: publishing false news meant to disturb the social peace, managing social media that undermines the social order, and incitement to terrorism.

EIPR is an example of an Egyptian human rights group that monitors and tracks this environment within the country. This includes religious freedom. Since October 2019, six EIPR staff members have been arbitrarily detained and questioned. In another similar and recent example, Egypt targeted another human rights defender, Ramy Kamel, specifically because he had discussed religious persecution of Christians.

Free speech in Egypt is degenerating quite rapidly, as evident by this crackdown on human rights defenders from within the country. It makes many afraid to speak out about the human rights abuses they are experiencing, even religious persecution. Meanwhile, Egypt uses the absence of religious persecution cases being reported to promote that they are making so-called great strides about religious freedom.

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