Egyptian legal scholar Mohamed Zaree Wins Martin Ennals Human Rights Award

Out there in the ether, there’s always somebody who brings back ¬†faith in humanity.

The Daily Mail reports…

An Egyptian legal scholar and a leading figure in his country’s embattled rights movement won one of the world’s most prestigious human rights prizes on Tuesday.

Mohamed Zaree, who heads the Egypt country office of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), was hailed by the Martin Ennals Award organisers as a “hero”.

Hans Thoolen, who created the prize in 1993 and chairs the jury, celebrated “the individual, heroic behaviour of this man, sitting all alone holding fort while the human rights situation around him is crumbling.”

Zaree has remained in Cairo to continue defending freedom of expression and association in his country even after CIHRS had its assets frozen and was forced to move its headquarters to Tunis.

Zaree himself has faced death threats, been slapped with a travel ban since May 2016, and is awaiting a trial that could land him behind bars for life, CIHRS director Bahey El Din Hassan told reporters in Geneva ahead of Tuesday’s award ceremony.

Zaree, who was barred from travelling to Switzerland for the event, was due to address the ceremony via video-link.

– ‘Wake-up call’ –

El Din Hassan said he hoped “the award would be a message, a wake-up call” to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, warning the rights situation in the country was now worse than it was under Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year regime, toppled in 2011.

Rights groups accuse the Egyptian government of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of dissidents that spiked after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his supporters.