The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine strongly condemns the sentence of six months imprisonment issued in absentia by the misdemeanor court of Helwan in Egypt against Mr. Kamal Abbas, general coordinator of the Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services (CTUWS) and calls for its immediate reversal. As the CTUWS statement says,this sentence has been issued against Mr. Kamal Abbas for allegedly “insulting a public officer”, which refers to an incident at the 100th session of the International Labor Organization during which Mr. Kamal Abbas interrupted the speech of Mr. Ismael Ibrahim Fahmi, Acting President of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), and publicly challenged his legitimacy as a representative of Egyptian workers.
In doing so, we believe that Mr. Kamal Abbas merely exercised his basic human right to freedom of speech, as guaranteed by international and national legislation, and spoke up in defense of the right of Egyptian workers to choose their own representatives, in line with ILO standards for freedom of association and the right to organize. The court sentence that has been issued against Mr. Abbas violates basic human rights. Furthermore, it appears that the legal grounds on which the case was built are deeply flawed, since how can Mr. Fahmi be considered as a “public officer” if he was attending the ILO conference as a representative of Egyptian workers?
We would like to express our full solidarity with Mr. Kamal Abbas and CTUWS in their struggle for freedom of expression and trade union rights in Egypt, and call on all our partners and friends to mobilize on behalf of Mr. Kamal Abbas.
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And please sign the ITUC and Labourstart petition by going to http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=1287″>
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Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine or http://ctuws.com