Rights center concerned over growing arrests of callers for workers’ economic rights

Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) expressed concern toward the growing arrests of people calling for workers’ rights through fabricating accusations against number of labors and activists. 
In a statement on Wednesday, the center said it took charge of defending some suspects involved in lawsuits based on their labor mobility to provide workers’ rights advocates with required legal support.
The center said its lawyers were able to defend prominent labor figure Mahmoud Rihan, air traffic control officer at Cairo International Airport, who was cleared by court on 4 December from charges of insulting the president and circulating false news through his Facebook page. He was arrested on 20 November. Prosecution remanded him into custody, prevented attendance of his lawyer then referred him to court.
On the same day of Rihan’s acquittal, according to the statement, security arrested and remanded 28 workers of Alexandria religious endowments department in Abdeen police station after trying to meet the minister in Cairo to complain about suspension of their salaries and being forced to sign down statements that prevent them demanding their rights. After interrogations, 23 of them were released, while the rest five workers were referred to prosecution over charges of protesting without license. They were released on LE500 bail for each.
Labor activist Ayman Fakhr Eddin, according to the statement, was also arrested for expressing solidarity with Iron and Steel Company workers who demanded disbursal of their profits. Fakhr Eddin was referred to prosecution then misdemeanor court over inciting workers to refrain from from carrying out their duties. Court gave him a two-year sentence and fined him LE10,000. A bail was also ordered by court to suspend the verdict and release Fakhr Eddin until appeal is carried out. 
ECESR lawyers concluded saying that such practices causes the labor struggle to return to a fight for survival instead of seeking more legitimate rights, which are granted by constitution and law.

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