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Court Case Spotlight
Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Dufoof Case

Court / Presiding Judge

Aswan State Security Court Emergency Section

Procedural History

On December 12, 2017, the trial began. On April 7, 2019, the court issued its verdict.


When the court issued its verdict, it fined 25 defendants LE50,000 each (suspended sentence) and acquitted seven defendants.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to a peaceful demonstration organized by a group of Nubians in which they were singing and playing on their dufoof (musical instruments) and demanding their constitutionally guaranteed right to return to their ancestral lands. The case involves the trial of 32 defendants, 25 of whom had been arrested for a period of time.

Anecdotal Notes

During a hunger strike staged by the defendants while they were still in detention, Nubian activist Gamal Sorour fell into a diabetic coma. Medical neglect by prison authorities led to his death while in detention in November 2017. This case was one of the first protest cases referred to State Security Emergency Court after a decree from the prime minister allowing referrals of such cases.

Legal & Judicial Implications

This case raises important questions on the failure of the Egyptian state to protect its minorities and honor the constitutionally guaranteed right of Nubians to return to their ancestral lands. For authorities to crackdown against a group of people who are peacefully exercising their right to assemble, while demanding something guaranteed to them by the Egyptian Constitution, raises many important questions on freedom of expression, assembly, and association, as well as their right to be free from discrimination. Further, the fact that this case, which involves basic rights, is being tried before the State Security Emergency Court system brings to light the problematic due process aspects of emergency courts and implicates the rights of such citizens to be afforded a fair, non-politicized trial.