Gamal Eid – Egypt’s leading human rights lawyer and promoter of free speech

47-year-old lawyer Gamal Eid is one of the most important human rights activists in Egypt and the Arab world. He has legally defended most of Egypt's human rights activists and is one of the most prominent publishers and speakers on human rights and freedom of expression.

He is the founder and Executive Director of the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a key player in the Egyptian and Arab human rights movement.

Biography

Eid was born in 1964 and graduated from Ain Shams University’s College of Law in Cairo. He has led the defense team in many of Egypt’s most important human rights cases. As a prominent human rights advocate and member of Kefaya, the Egyptian Movement for Change, he was arrested several times and tortured by security forces.

In 2003, Eid founded the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a non-governmental organization based in Cairo, and today holds the position of Executive Director.

The ANHRI is a platform of uncensored information on human rights issues in Egypt and the Arab world. Together with his team of 25 employees, Eid conducts research and offers legal aid, networking and strategic support to human rights organizations, journalists and bloggers. The ANHRI website enjoys the most visitors of human rights websites in the Arab countries. The information on the site (posted in Arabic) includes the Network’s own research and information provided by more than 300 human rights organizations worldwide.

The activists who stand behind the ANHRI fight against censorship and promote freedom of opinion, expression and belief. “Katib”, an uncensored blog for Arabic readers launched in 2008, reflects those goals very successfully.

The Network operates a legal unit, defending human rights activists in court and publishing cases of human rights abuses. It also documents and publicizes human rights violations throughout the entireArab region. Its objective is to generate and exchange information, but also to provide training materials and set up workshops for other human rights organizations.

Eid and the ANHRI have been able to bring together important players of the Arab countries’ human rights movement, while cooperating with more than 100 local and international human rights organizations. They all pool their efforts to expose human rights violations, with particular focus on freedom of opinion and expression.

Situation

Egypt was ruled by an autocratic, oppressive and corrupt regime for the last 30 years, until former President Mubarak was forced to step down on February 11, 2011. Laws were enforced by the violent Egyptian police and army, with harassment and torture of political detainees and their families a regular and common practice. Egyptian security forces would carry out torture and abuses with impunity; either no investigation took place following the crimes, or, if convicted, the guilty party would not face any meaningful penalties.

A parliamentary election to the People’s Assembly of Egypt was held from 28 November 2011 to 11 January 2012. The election was the first honest national election of any sort held in Egypt since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952. Mohamed Morsi is the fifth and current president of Egypt, having assumed office on 30 June 2012.

Achievements

Eid is a tireless advocate of human rights and has led the defense of most of the human rights cases in Egypt. He continues to fight against human rights violations as a lawyer, representing 16 of the roughly 850 people killed during the Egyptian revolution.

He founded and heads the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a key player in the region’s human rights movement. The Network promotes freedom of expression and acts against censorship, but is also strongly involved in legal issues concerning human rights abuses. It held a press conference in August 2011 to issue a report on the public prosecutor’s performance, claiming that the attorney general should be replaced. Eid highlighted the “many cases of torture, where people get away with their crimes, police officers accused of killing are released and threaten the martyrs’ and victims’ families”.

One of Eid and the ANHRI’s most important achievements is the “Katib” blog service. This uncensored blog hosting site was launched in 2008 for Arabic readers, promoting freedom of speech. Writers, journalists, human rights activists and young Arabs can access free blogs where they can also share their own experiences, news and viewpoints. Through “Katib”, they also publish a free newspaper to share the highlights of the blogs with a wider audience.

Eid has faced harassment, prison and torture for his longtime dedication to human rights. He was nominated for the Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award in 2009 and honored by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) with the Leaders for Democracy Award in 2011.

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3 comments

  1. Kristie

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  2. Emanuel

    Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

  3. Fouad Al-Baghdadi

    I am Canadian citzen of Iraqi origin, educated in former West Germany. I have a case involving serious human rights violation in Kuwait, I would like to have the direct e-mail of Mr. Gamal Eid, in order to send him more details.
    Thanking you for the attention,
    Fouad Al-Baghdadi

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