Prominent Egyptian human rights activist and lawyer Hafez Abu-Seada passed away on 26 November 2020 at age 55 after he had tested positive for coronavirus a week earlier and was admitted to a Cairo hospital.
On her Facebook page, his wife, renowned lawyer and feminist Nehad Abul-Komsan, confirmed his death, writing: “Hafez Abu-Seada, the love of my life, the father of my children and the greatest man I ever knew, my strength and support, has passed away. Pray for him.
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) and its president Maya Morsy offered sincere condolences to Ms Abul-Komsan who is a member of the Council, asking God to rest his soul in peace, and to grant his widow and all his family members comfort and peace.
The Higher Committee for Human Rights (HCHR) also mourned Dr Abu-Seada, and extended its sincere condolences to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR).
The HCHR’s Secretary-General Ahmed Ihab Gamaleddin expressed deep grief at the untimely departure of Dr Abu-Seada. “Egypt has lost one of her loyal sons; a distinguished patriot and rights defender,” he wrote.
Born in 1965 in Cairo, Dr Abu-Seada started his activist role as a law student in Cairo University, during and following which time he was repeatedly detained on account of his activism.
As a consequence of his detention experiences in the 1980s, Abu-Seada decided to become a human rights lawyer.
He earned a doctoral degree in international law in 2011 from Alexandria University, having had earlier obtained a masters degree in international, legal, commercial and logistical dealings in 2009 from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.
Apart from heading Egypt’s oldest human rights organisation since 2009, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights founded in 1985, Abu-Seada was a member of the State-sponsored National Council for Human rights since 2004.
Dr Abu-Seada always expressed hope that Egypt would follow the path of democratisation and that those responsible for rights abuses would eventually face justice. “But this is a future only if the people demand their rights and struggle for them. With satellite communications, and the Internet, people can no longer be kept in the dark,” he said.