Twitter: sherifmnsour; Email: email@example.com; Website: www. sherifmansour.org
Sherif Mansour Statement of Return
Tomorrow, I return to my native Egypt to stand trial alongside fifteen other brave individuals in a case
that will affect the future of civil society in Egypt in the years to come. In total, the Egyptian government
is accusing forty-three democracy workers and activists (representing six different nationalities) of
operating foreign-funded democracy NGOs inside the country without a license. I return to Egypt because
I know these accusations were brought illegally and with political motivations.
Having worked with Freedom House for the past five years, I can personally attest that this organization
has worked inside Egypt to promote the values of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of
religion, an end to police brutality and persecution, the rule of law, and a free and independent civil
society. These are the values that inspired millions of Egyptians to take to the streets last year to end the
thirty-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. These are also core values that the United States has promoted
in countries around the world, including Egypt.
I recognize that I am taking great personal risks to return to Egypt. It is not a decision I have taken lightly.
My family is hurting tremendously. However, they also support me, understanding the significance of this
case both in personal and broader political terms. As I write this letter, four hundred other civil society
organizations (CSOs) are being investigated by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. Every day civil society
workers and activists are being threatened, harassed, and brought to face false charges in courts. We
cannot hope for a peaceful, stable and flourishing Egypt, if we do not fight for an independent and strong
civil society that will demand government accountability; fight for women’s rights, minorities’ rights, and
human rights more broadly; and foster economic and social development.
These organizations are watching the outcome of this case closely, as their own future hinges on it.
Additionally, this case will further embolden forces in the Egyptian government that feel their country has
reaped direct benefits from such brazen actions and will likely turn to such tactics in the future. More
broadly, if this case is not dropped, it will stand as a model for other regimes in the region, knowing that
they can crackdown on domestic and international (including American) democracy and human rights
activists with complete impunity.
As Egypt struggles through a contentious Presidential election and the trials of former regime officials,
including Mubarak himself, it is more important than ever that we stand against this attack on Egyptian
civil society. I humbly ask for your support reaching out to partners in the U.S. and Egypt to ensure that
the NGO trial be dismissed as soon possible, and that no other groups or individuals struggling for
democratic reforms in Egypt (including other U.S. citizens) have to suffer through such a trial ever again.
Until then, I will be sending you updates from Egypt. My wife will keep you posted if I am imprisoned.