Dear Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
In reference to the open letter on the human rights crisis in Egypt which was issued by Human Rights Watch and signed by an impressive group of human rights organisations, we, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR), hereby express our full support of this letter and the demands it includes. As an organization dedicated to filmmakers at risk, we urgently call on you to include the Egyptian film producer Moataz Abdelwahab in your deliberations and the actions resulting from them. We have learned from sources close to him that his detention conditions are completely unacceptable, on top of which he is ill.
Your support would be most important and very much appreciated. Please find below and here a summary of his case.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Mike Downey and Matthijs Wouter Knol, President and CEO/Director, European Film Academy
Orwa Nyrabia and Cees van ‘t Hullenaar, Artistic Director and Executive Director, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Vanja Kaludjercic and Marjan van der Haar, Director and Executive Director, International Film Festival Rotterdam
Instead of being released, the film producer Moataz Abdelwahab has again been imprisoned and has now spent more than 7 months in jail. We, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR*) and its founding institutions, the European Film Academy, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and International Film Festival Rotterdam, are very worried about his health and detention conditions and call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release him.
The original Call of 16 July:
The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR*) and its founding institutions, the European Film Academy, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and International Film Festival Rotterdam, together with Freemuse, the Human Rights Film Network, Movies that Matter Foundation and PEN America, as well as the Accademia del Cinema Italiano - Premi David di Donatello, German Film Academy, Hellenic Film Academy. Icelandic Film- & TV Academy, Luxembourg Film Academy, Polish Film Academy, Swiss Film Academy and Ukrainian Film Academy, call for the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release film producer Moataz Abdelwahab.
The Egyptian film producer Moataz Abdelwahab (43) produced the feature film WHEN WE’RE BORN (2019) by director Tamer Izzat, which played at the El Gouna International Film Festival and Les Journées Cinématographique de Cartage 2019, as well as a couple of documentaries which carry no political views, among them KHAN’S FINGERPRINTS, a portrait of the prominent Egyptian director Mohammad Khan, THE HEART OF CAIRO, examining the history of the city, and most recently A CURFEW, the upcoming film by renowned Egyptian filmmaker Amir Ramses. Moataz Abdelwahab disappeared on 5 May from his office in Cairo, only to re-appear on 11 May for a hearing at the Supreme Court for State Security, where he was accused of “partnering with a terrorist organisation” and “spreading false news” (case 586).
These accusations come after he produced a number of cultural documentary films which were sold to and aired on the Aljazeera Documentary Channel. According to legal experts, the arrest is based on false and fabricated charges. We are very concerned about his safety and that of his family (he is the father of two, Zeina (12) and Yousef (6)) and call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Moataz Abdelwahab and encourage all film and culture institutions around the world to do the same.