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Egypt: We Believe the Survivors, Stand in Solidarity, and be Victorious for Rasha Azab}

Open Call for signatures for international and regional feminist organizations and groups/individuals!

Friday 25 March 2022, by siawi3

Source: https://whrdmena.org/2022/02/24/we-believe-the-survivors-stand-in-solidarity-and-be-victorious-for-rasha-azab/?lang=en

We Believe the Survivors, Stand in Solidarity, and be Victorious for Rasha Azab

Open Call for signatures for international and regional feminist organizations and groups/individuals!

24.02.22

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We Believe the Survivors, Stand in Solidarity, and be Victorious for Rasha Azab

The Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in the Middle East and North Africa calls on feminist organizations to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian journalist, writer, scriptwriter and WHRD Rasha Azab, as she was referred to trial on Saturday, February 26, 2022 on charges of defamation and slander. The background to this trial is due to her solidarity and support for the survivors of crimes of sexual violence committed by (film) director Islam Azazi. Testimonies against him were published on the “Daftar Hekayat” blog, that published numerous testimonies of survivors of sexual violence crimes committed by more than one perpetrator. It is worth noting that she is the first activist to be tried for this reason, as a result of Azazi filing a case of slander and defamation against her, now she is liable to be tried according to Penal Code No. 58 of 1937 and Communications Regulatory Law No. 10 of 2003, which is punishable by imprisonment for two years and a fine ranging between 20 and 500 thousand Egyptian Pounds.

It should also be noted that the date of the director’s release of a power of attorney, against which 6 rape and harassment testimonies were published, accusing 5 people of slandering and defaming him dates back to January 10, 2021, while he submitted a complaint on January 13, 2021 against Rasha Azab and director Aida Al-Kashef on charges of slandering and defaming him. The communication was filed and closed on February 9, 2021, but a grievance was filed on February 16, 2021 and the case was reopened on March 1, 2021. The statements of the concerned director were taken on December 5, 2021, and the solidarity statements were added to the case file against Rashsa without investigation on December 26, 2021. After that, the case was referred to the court within only 13 days, as the report moved from the Partial Prosecution to the Public Prosecution, then the papers were moved from the Helwan Comprehensive Prosecution to the Financial and Administrative Affairs Prosecution on January 12 and 20, 2022, and finally, the case was referred from the Financial Affairs Prosecution to the Economic Court, stating that Rasha Azab was referred to trial on January 25, 2022.

Our region is witnessing a wave of feminist resistance that defies the silence that is expected of women and individuals towards sexual violence. This resistance is represented in multiple forms of disclosure, but also in accelerated unprecedented public waves of solidarity with the survivors and their supporters, demanding justice for them and those who preceded them, and calling for protection for future generations. Sexual and gender-based violence usually aim to exercise power over the survivors, and relies mainly on societal norms that protect the aggressors in the name of culture, but no culture or art is built through violence. While many institutions and initiatives in the region are working on laws criminalizing harassment and violence and protecting women, they sometimes overlook the violence practiced within artistic, civil circles and societies, making the places we assume safe infested with perpetrators who believe in their ability to escape accountability and punishment.

In the past few years, the voice of feminists and activists in the region has risen from silence-breakers, pioneers of revealing what is happening, believing in the ability of feminists, women and individuals to practice solidarity, through shaming perpetrators and putting pressure on the institutions concerned in holding the perpetrators accountable, and believing in the ability of women to change their fates and destinies. Protecting each other, as feminists, feminist organizations, and a community, and our safety and security as individuals is an essential step in protecting – not only survivors – but also the safety nets that help them recover and move beyond violence. Therefore, the WHRDMENA coalition calls for solidarity with Rasha Azab, as she is punished because of her solidarity with survivors of sexual violence crimes ranging from harassment to rape, as if society and the state are sending a clear message of the imperative to punish those who stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence crimes to ensure that the perpetrators are not punished! An indirect message is also sent to the survivors of these crimes not to disclose what is being committed against their right to their physical safety, in light of a time when these crimes are being revealed globally. Sexual violence is not the destiny of women and individuals in the region, we believe the survivors, support solidarity activists and insist that the perpetrators be punished

About Rasha Azab: Rasha Azab is an Egyptian journalist, activist, and writer. She received a B.A. in Media Education from Cairo University, where she studied journalism, theater and visual arts. She began her career in visual arts and theater in 2000, establishing an independent amateur theater festival. She edited the book Amateur Theater in Egypt, which includes articles and critiques by a number of prominent researchers in the field. She is one of the founders of the political social movement “Kefaya” against the Mubarak regime in 2004. Her role as an activist has been prominent in the Egyptian revolution through documenting abuses and police brutality by the military state against civilians. Her influence through writing has positioned her to be one of the influential women writers of this generation in Egypt. Azab then assisted director Manal Khaled in the production of her first documentary project in Gaza, Palestine, in 2008. She worked as a researcher for the Egyptian feature films The Day I Ate the Fish by Aida El Kashef. She is the author of Cinema Cairo, an illustrated book published by Zeytouna, in 2017. She wrote the introduction of Dream Factory on the Nile, a book about the history of Egyptian film production in Alexandria at the turn of the twentieth century to the late 1990s, published by AUC Bookstore, in 2019. She wrote the screenplay for the film Hammam Sokhn, “Trapped”, that was screened in 2021, for the first time by the Southwest Film Festival, Texas. Alongside her career as a scriptwriter and researcher, Azab has worked in local journalism since 1999, focusing on culture journalism in 2002 before moving to investigative reporting in 2013. Rasha Azab wrote her first fictional book, “A Heart of Salt”, published by Al Kotob Khan in January 2022.

Signatures | Organizations

1- The Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa.

2-Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

3-Femena

4- Bara7 Aman | Safe Haven.

5- Comittee for Justice – international organisation

6-El Nadim Center For Management & Rehabilitation of victims of violence- Egypt

7-Kohl Journal

8- Alsiwar | Arab Feminist Movement- Palestine

9- International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

10- Article 19

12- Sudanese Women Rights Action

Reproductive Rights Center, Switzerland
Kvinna till Kvinna
The Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders
Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Concerned Nigerians, Nigeria
Consorcio para el Dialogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca A C, Mexico
ANKH (Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights)

Signatures: individuals

Asmaa Zeidan, Journalist, Egypt
Radwa Fouda, Graphic Designer, Egypt
Noha Elostaz, Director, Egypt
Sarah Kadry, MA Student, Belgium
Salma ElHosseiny, Human Rights Advocate, Egypt
Gawhara Madkour, Lawyer, Egypt
Farah Galal, Researcher, Egypt
Islam Khafagy, Researcher, Cairo, Egypt
Malak Boghdady
Mai El Sadani, Human Rights Lawyer, USA
Najwa Sabra, Humanitarian Aid Worker, Lebanon
Maisoon Elmasry, Director, Egypt
Mennatullah Essam, Engineer, Egypt
Marina Samir, Translator and Feminist Researcher, Egypt
Rasha Khaled, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Iraq
Nour Haidar, Marketing Manager, Syria
Lamis Soliman, Cinematic Set Designer, Egypt
Mona Ezzat, Journalist and Researcher, Egypt
Shahinaz Abdel Salam, Member of Ankh Organization, France
Ahdaf Souief, Writer, Egypt
Lama Jamal ElDin, Graduate Student, Lebanon
Nana Abouel Seoud, Egypt
Hind Ahmed Zaki, Egypt
Lobna Darwish, Researcher, Egypt
Shaimaa Hamdy, Journalist, Egypt
Mona Selim, Journalist, Egypt
Monica Hanna, Assistant Professor and Acting Dean of Faculty of Archeology and Cultural Heritage, Egypt
Sally Youssry
Salma Hindy, Journalist and Researcher, Egypt

30. Rana Wael Hussein, Student, Egypt

31. Shahd Karim, Student, Egypt

32. Radwa Youssef, Sales, Egypt

33. Nourhan Rabei, Student, Egypt

34. Sama Mohamed Ali, Student, Egypt

35. Salma ElHashmy, Student, Egypt

36. Samar Dawoud, Egypt

37. Kholoud Saber Barakat, Psychologist, Egypt

38. Mona Mahran, Egypt

39. Reem Abdel Kader, Student, Egypt

40. Mahy Hassaan, Feminist Activist, Egypt

41. Lamia Amin, Egypt

42. Mona Anwar Ali, Egypt

43. Hermas Fawzy, Engineer, Egypt

44. Caroline Benson, Translator, Editor, Student, USA

45. Nourane Abdelrazek, France, Social and Cultural Mobilizer.

46. Ahmed Fouda, Photographer, Egypt

47. Maie Panaga, Egypt

48. Nahla Soliman, Researcher, Egypt

49. Salma Akl, Film Editor, Egypt

50. Marwa Fatata, Human Rights Activist, Palestine

51. Mohamed Abuelshabab, Gender Researcher, Egypt

52. Amina Cheballah, Algeria

53 .Ayman ElZaghdodi, Professor of Constitutional law, Tunis

54. Mayar Othman, Journalist, Egypt

55. Nada Awad, International Advocacy Officer, CIHRS

56. Resala Mahmoud, Teacher and Sports Trainer, Syria

57. Adham Taleb, Durham University Professor, The United Kingdom

58. Raghda Khairy, Photographer, Egypt

59. Maha Alaswad, Researcher, Egypt

60. Elena Cal Atán, Spain

61. Mariam Khaled, Communications Team Leader, Etisalat, UAE

62. Nada Ahmed, The United Kingdom

63. Salma Salem Ahmed, Content Writer, Egypt

64. Rawan Ali, Student, Egypt

65. Hoor Ramadan, Egypt

66. Chiara Reali, Researcher, Italy

67. Heba Kamal, Researcher and PhD Student, Egypt

68. Seth Binder, Human Rights Advocate, USA

69. Nevine Mahfouz, Student, Egypt

70. Ahmed Khalil, Student, Egypt

71. Emanuela Fiorletta, Archivist, Italy

72. Paul Senphysio, Sociologist, Germany

73. Hala Makhlouf, Researcher, Egypt

74. Milad Youssef, Medical Translator, USA

75. Nada Abd Rabbo Mohamed, Egypt

76. Hanan Abdallah, Film Director, London, The United Kingdom

77. Sara Abed, Researcher, Egypt

78. Sara Ismail, Artist, Egypt

79. Salma Abed, Egypt