The continued criminal investigation of Mina Thabet, Director of the Religious Minorities and Marginalized Groups Program at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), is a serious escalation in the ongoing crackdown against Egypt’s civil society.
Led by Thabet, ECRF’s research and writing on religious and marginalized minorities is valuable and credible work that sheds light on the various ways that minorities continue to face discriminatory practices throughout the country. His work has touched on everything from the restrictive marriage laws for Coptic Christians and the blasphemy law and its disproportionate impact on Christians, to the treatment of Syrian refugees in Egypt. By silencing Thabet, Egyptian authorities are dealing unparalleled blows to research on religious freedom and severely constraining the rights to freedom of belief, thought and opinion, and research established by the Egyptian constitution and the country’s international legal obligations.
Eshhad, which tracks and documents attacks on religious freedom in Egypt, has heavily relied on the work of researchers like Thabet. His work has continuously been a backbone of research in a field that has not received due, comprehensive attention in the academic and nonprofit world.
Eshhad will continue to update this special briefing as updates on the arrest and detention of Thabet unfold.