Santa Clara University School of Law Statement on Arrest of Egyptian Advocate Hossam Bahgat
November 9, 2015 Santa Clara University School of Law
We write with great concern for the welfare of journalist Hossam Bahgat, who was arrested and is being detained in Egypt by military authorities for his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.
Because of Mr. Bahgat’s courage and brilliance as a human rights advocate and founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Santa Clara Law awarded him the prestigious Katharine & George Alexander Law Prize in March 2014. Mr. Bahgat travelled to Santa Clara to accept the award and spend the day with our university community. He inspired us with his tenacity and commitment to justice and equality, ideals deeply valued at Santa Clara.
In creating the EIPR in 2002, Mr. Bahgat has been an exceptional advocate for the Rule of Law. The EIPR has harnessed the power of research, advocacy, and litigation to promote and defend civil the rights to privacy, religious freedom, health, bodily integrity, and freedom of expression. Mr. Bahgat has earned worldwide recognition for his work in the areas of transitional justice, the protection of civil liberties and political rights, the promotion of economic and social justice, and reform of the criminal justice system.
Mr. Bahgat’s continued detention and possible prosecution are justifiably garnering international concern for both his personal welfare and more broadly for the chilling effect on freedom of expression worldwide. We join the human rights community in calling for his immediate release and for the cessation of any developing prosecution or penalty against him.