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Egypt: A prominent young feminist transgender activist and WHRD arrested by Egyptian authorities

Tuesday 19 March 2019, by siawi3

Source: Women Human Rights Defenders - MENA Region

Joint solidarity statement with Malak al-Kashef

15 Mar 2019, 15:55

Malak al-Kashef is a prominent young feminist transgender activist and WHRD. She was arrested by Egyptian authorities on 6 March.


On 6 March 2019, Egyptian authorities arrested Malak al-Kashef, a prominent feminist activist and woman human rights defender. Malak al Kashef is a transgender woman who is engaged with sexual and gender diversity activism in the Egypt and the region. According to her lawyer, al Kashef was arrested from her home by National Security Forces, and her location was identified after a 24 hours of complete disappearance. On 7 March, Malak al-Khashef appeared in front of a Supreme State Security Prosecutor. Later on, she was forcibly disappeared again and was found in Al Haram in solitary confinement. On 10 March, State Prosecution ordered her detention for 15 days pending investigation. She was charged with ‘supporting a terrorist organization’, ‘using social media to incite crimes that violate the law’. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms documented that Malak was subjected to a forced anal examination and sexual violence in a hospital. Anal forced examination is dehumanizing form of torture and violence. We believe that Malak al Kashef will be subjected to more violence if she remains in detention.

The arrest of Malak al Kashef comes after a wave of outrage regarding the Ramses tragic train accident. The Egyptian prosecution didn’t specify the main reason for the arrest.

Malak Al-Kashef underwent surgery on the basis of Al-Azhar’s approval but has not yet been able to change her name and gender from man to women on her official papers, because of the absence of legal procedures in Egypt. This makes her vulnerable to all forms of dangers in everyday life such as finding decent work or be subjected to constant harassment and bullying.

Malak Al-Kashef is one of the most prominent young voices in the region and has placed herself on the front lines in the defense of gender and sexual diversity, not only in Egypt but in North Africa and the entire Arab world. For example, she participated in a talk show that is watched by millions of viewers and faced a lot of backlash for it.

There is a lot of diversity in our societies; and accepting and acknowledging that enriches our communities liberates us from assumptions about gender roles and sexual orientation. In our region, there is trend protected by authority, and it is working tirelessly to criminalize the struggle for human rights and targeting human rights defenders; who are facing a lot of violence; arbitrary laws are being used to take reprisal actions against them. Defenders of sexual and gender diversity in these circumstances are more vulnerable to violence and danger because they are smeared violently and accused of being ‘anti-religion’ and ‘morals’. At a time when people are not allowed to object or express opinions, it is difficult to hear voices that support them and promote their right to exist.

The signatories belong to different organizations in several countries and regions in North Africa and the Middle east and they stand in solidarity with Malak al-Kashef and demand her immediate release.

-Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa
-Nazra for Feminist Studies- Egypt
The Knowledge Workshop- Lebanon
-Anti Racism Movement- Lebanon
-Roaya for Feminist Studies- Sudan
No to Women’s Oppression Initiative- Sudan
The A Project- Lebanon
-AlQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society- Palestine
Bidaya Organization in Egypt and Sudan
-Transat in Middle East and North Africa



Egypt: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of LGBTI+ defender Malak Al-Kashif


EGY 001 / 0319 / OBS 025

Arbitrary detention /



March 18, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif, a LGBT+ human rights defender, after calling for peaceful protests to denounce how the Ramses Station Accident[1] was handled by the authorities.


According to the information received, on March 6, 2019, at dawn, members of the National Security forces arrested Ms. Malak Al-Kashif from her home in Giza. She was held for three days in incommunicado detention, until her whereabouts were finally revealed on March 10, 2019. It was then revealed that following more than 24 hours of detention in an unknown location, on March 7, 2019, Ms. Malak Al-Kashif appeared before the National Security Prosecution, where she was charged with “aiding a terrorist organisation†and “misusing social media to commit a crime punishable by law†. The Prosecution then ordered that she be remanded in pre-trial. The renewal of her pre-trial detention is expected to be announced on March 19, 2019. At the moment of publication of this appeal, she was kept in solitary confinement in Al-Haram Police Station and has now access to her lawyer and family. In order to arrest her, it appears that the national security forces forced Ms. Malak Al-Kashif’s mother to call her pretending to be very ill, in order to lure her into going to her apartment.

The Observatory is particularly concerned by the fact that on March 10, 2019, Ms. Malak Al-Kashif was subjected to forced anal examination, which amounts to a form of torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment[2]. Moreover, according to the same information a police officer sexually harassed her on that same day.

Ms. Malak Al-Kashif’s arrest is reportedly related to her calls for peaceful protests in solidarity with the victims of the Ramses Station Accident and their families. In particular, she has been asking for those responsible of the accident to be held accountable.

The Observatory considers that Ms. Malak Al-Kashif’s arbitrary detention and ill-treatment is particularly concerning in light of the general climate of discrimination and human rights violations against LGBT+ individuals and defenders of their rights in Egypt and fears that she may be subjected to sexual harassment during her detention because of her gender identity.

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Malak Al-Kashif’s, as her detention is arbitrary and only aims at silencing her human rights work and her freedom of expression. In the meanwhile, the Egyptian authorities should ensure the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif and take all necessary measures to ensure that, during her detention, she will not be subjected to any form of sexual abuse, ill-treatment or discrimination because of her gender identity or to any other form of ill-treatment. As her official documents are still stating her gender as male, it is feared that the authorities will place her in male’s detention centers.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif, and all human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Malak Al-Kashif as her detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at punishing her for her human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Malak Al-Kashif and all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2; and

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.


· President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: p.spokesman, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

· Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: pm
· Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: center
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103 

· Minister of Social Solidarity, Mrs. Ghada Wali, Tel: +202 333 75420
· Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: humanrightscomplaints
· Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr
· H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt
· Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.


Geneva-Paris, March 18, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] During this accident, at least 25 people were killed and 47 injured in a train crash at Cairo’s main station.

[2] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 5 January 2016, A/HRC/31/57.