Occupation: Journalist and Mada Foundation’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Current Situation: Has been Held on remand at Al-Aqrab Prison since 21 October 2015, pending case No. 720/2015 (State Security)
Charges: Were orally read out, as Jafar along with his lawyers were prevented from reviewing the case’s documents. The accusations are: “joining an outlawed group, receiving an international bribery, and carrying out reports on national security- related issues, without coordinating with the competent authorities”.
Hisham Jafar, 51, occupies numerous media and research positions and is a member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mada Foundation for Media Development, and a member of the National Coalition for Media Freedom.
“Jafar” obtained, in 1985, his B.A. in Political Science from Cairo University where he later received a Master’s Degree in the same major. He is a researcher, writer, and political analyst. He wrote several books and studies and has participated as a lecturer in many seminars, conferences, and workshops inside Egypt and abroad. Jafar has previously worked as a chief editor of “Islam Online” and “On Islam” websites.
Through Mada Foundation, Jafar sought to promote the concept of media development and boost the interest of human development in the face of social problems, such as communal violence. The researcher organized manifold training courses to raise the government cadres’ level of awareness with regard to dealing with the societal problems that obstruct their job duties.
Furthermore, while running Mada Foundation, Jafar designed a number of websites that aim at raising the capabilities of Egypt’s political parties. He also exerted many efforts to support and empower the Egyptian women and family for the development of society and the achievement of social peace. The most salient role Jafar has played is his participation in the formulation of “Alexandria Declaration on Women Rights in Islam”- publicly known as Al-Azhar document for women rights- in addition to taking part in the launch of the Media Strategy For Empowering Egyptian Family programme.
Hisham Jafar’s suffering and detention dated back to 21 October 2015, when some police and national security forces stormed, at 1:30 PM, the headquarters of Mada Foundation for Media Development, searched, and inspected the place as well as the computers found therein. Lawyers were also prevented to enter the building. In the meantime, Jafar had been detained; as some officers headed to his home that is near the foundation’s headquarters, searched it and tampered with its contents. Consequently, the foundation was shut and sealed with red wax, and Jafar was taken to unknown destination. Since then, no news about the researcher has been known, until he appeared before State Security Prosecution on 24 October 2015. Afterwards, it turned out that Jafar had been detained at the heavily-guarded Al-Aqrab Prison and had already appeared before Supreme State Security Prosecution during the period of his disappearance. However, at that time, Jafar’s lawyers were not able to attend with him the preliminary investigations.
Several accustomed charges were brought, without any proof, against Jafar by the prosecution; such as joining a banned group and receiving an international bribery from foreign bodies in exchange for information, which was deemed by the security apparatus to prejudice the national security. These charges were against the backdrop of Mada Foundation carrying out a number of research projects in different domains (including the national dialogue, tolerance, conflict resolution, family, women and children) and publishing their findings on the foundation’s website. The security body asserted that its approval should necessarily have been taken beforehand to conduct these researches, and even their results should have been presented to security bodies before announcing them officially whether internally or externally.
Jafar has been held on remand in solitary confinement at the heavily-guarded Al-Aqrab Prison. Despite being held arbitrarily for months in prison, Jafar’s lawyers were prevented from reviewing the case’s documents. The entry of medications to Jafar was also banned although he seriously suffers a heart disease. Additionally, the officer in charge refused to receive the defense team’s requests concerning the case, and wasted the requests submitted by the lawyers.
What can you do:
1- Write to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor reminding him of his role in protecting the values of justice and the rule of law; noting that: a) pre-tial detention should only be used for strictly specified time, b) the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and c) Hisham Jafar’s incarceration for more than 135 days, without a trial or a release, damages the reputation of the judicial body, as well as the values of justice in Egypt.
Attorney General’s Office’s Address: Supreme Court – July 26 St. – Ambulance Square – Cairo Phone: 25743751- 25760468 (Fax)
2- Leave a comment on the Egyptian Public Prosecution’s Facebook page demanding the release of Hisham Jafar.
3- Publish images of Hisham Jafar ” as well as some information about him, and send them to the newspapers of your country, in order not to be completely forgotten.
4- Write to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at:
5- Post images of Hisham Jafar on your Facebook & Twitter accounts using the hashtag #حريتهم_حقهم