After providing cultural service for 260,000 citizens: Police practices, administrative corruption and complicity by UNESCO nominee end the initiative of Al-Karama Public Libraries in Egypt

30 May, 2017

Cairo: 30 May, 2017

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today: The initiative of Al Karama Libraries involving six public libraries, which were established by human rights lawyer Gamal Eid in poor and popular neighborhoods, has completely came to an end, after libraries were stormed and shut down by state apparatuses. Also, Egypt’s nominee for director-general of UNESCO had complicity in the issue, in retaliation for the libraries’ founder and in perpetuation of the harassment against January 25 Revolution and its consequences.

All these points are tackled by a report, entitled “Al Karama Public Libraries in popular neighborhoods: Victim of corruption, tyranny and complicity”, which constitutes a balance sheet about the six shuttered libraries; the idea of their establishment, where they were based, number of people who have benefited from their services, how many book they contained, and how they were shut down, in addition to those who had complicity in the closing of the libraries and the administrative corruption suffered by the libraries’ founder to retrieve their books and portable assets.

The report also contains a comparison between the stance taken by the January 25 Revolution-then former Minister of Culture Dr. Imad Abu Ghazi- who supported Al Karama libraries and dedicated hundreds of his own books once he heard about the initiative- and, on the other hand, the current Minister of Culture, Hilmi Al-Numnem, who had previously worked with ANHRI, but turned a blind eye to the matter and remained silent towards the closing of the libraries, which were platforms for awareness, knowledge and culture. “

Rights lawyer and the founder of the libraries Gamal Eid said: “There is no hope for any good as long as the regime spares no effort to impose tyranny and retaliation, even at the expense of thousands of youth and children, who have been deprived from knowledge and awareness in light of these police measures. The closure of the libraries caused harm to the public as they are deprived from a service that is not provided by the state.”

The closing of Al Karama Public Libraries came at time when Egypt nominated to UNESCO’s director seat. And if the state didn’t hesitate in shutting down public libraries, UNESCO’s nominee finds nothing wrong in being complicit in the matter and falsely claiming that the case is being reviewed by the judiciary, but in fact, there isn’t any case or a court order. There isn’t nothing in the scene but police practices and administrative corruption as well as flagrant complicity by her”.

Gamal Eid stressed that “The libraries’ books and movable assets have been preserved despite the great difficulty we faced in regaining them, after incurring a huge sum of money in the form of “bribes”. He asserted that the libraries will be re-opened in the future, as soon as Egypt regains its freedom and democracy that had been stolen, and when the country is ruled by a regime that would show more respect towards justice and be less hostile to culture and knowledge.”


Al Karama Public Libraries in the popular neighborhoods: Victim of corruption, tyranny and complicity “Balance Sheet and Summary Report”

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