Prominent human rights advocate and lawyer Hafez Abu Seada, 55, has died after contracting coronavirus.
His wife, also a lawyer and rights advocate, announced his death yesterday:
“The love of my life, the father of my children, and the greatest man I’ve seen and lived with, and my pillar throughout my life, Dr Hafez Abu Seada, the lawyer and human rights advocate, the head of the EOHR, has passed away.”
One week ago, Seada announced that he had contracted the virus and was admitted to hospital.
He was the chairman and cofounder of Egypt’s oldest human rights organisation, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR).
Seada dedicated much of his career to campaigning against the late, toppled President Hosni Mubarak and in the eighties was arrested on account of his political beliefs.
He was also a critic of the Muslim Brotherhood government and ran in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
According to Independent UN Watch (IUNW) the EOHR lost much of its credibility following the Egyptian revolution when it sided with the military position.
In September 2017 IUNW accused the EOHR of being a tool used by successive Egyptian regimes.
“The 31 years of its work has been characterised by supporting the official positions and barely defending human rights in Egypt. Many of [EOHR’s] previous reports attempted to show Egypt as the ‘oasis’ of freedom of expression and Human Rights in the Middle East.”
IUNW also accuses the EOHR of chairing meetings which offered a platform to pro-government UAE speakers who criticised Qatar’s ‘terror’ policy and praised Saudi-UAE violations in Yemen.
Whilst human rights defenders in Egypt who are opposed to the current regime are ignored by the state-run press, Seada’s death has been widely covered.