Karim has worked at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) since 2011. His arrest is part of a crackdown on EIPR, almost the only human rights organisation still functioning in Egypt.
His EIPR colleagues Gasser Abed El Razek and Mohamed Bashir were also arrested, while Patrick George Zaki has been in detention since February.
Karim, Gasser and Mohamed were arrested after EIPR met with diplomats from 13 European countries; we think that all these countries have a duty to help free the EIPR staff.
Human rights work
Karim has spent his whole working life defending human rights, first for refugee legal aid organisation Amera Egypt, then in South Sudan with the UN, and finally at EIPR.
EIPR do important work such as documenting incidents of sectarian violence and violence against women, and leading research into strengthening economic and social rights. Karim was particularly focussed on human rights abuses within policing and the criminal justice system. One of the last things he worked on before his arrest was defending the rights of prisoners during the Coronavirus crisis, for example recommending that prisoners over a certain age who were accused of minor crimes should be released, for their own health and to avoid overcrowding.
Karim and Jess
Karim and his long term partner Jess Kelly, a documentary maker based in London, got married in September. Getting married in Cairo was a very bureaucratic process - and Karim is a big fan of bureaucracy. Just as they were about to make it official, the computers crashed; it was Jess's last day on her visa, making it all quite dramatic, but thankfully the computers came back on a few minutes later. Jess and Karim were planning a post-Covid celebration with all their friends.
Karim made sure he was in London for the UK's 2019 General Election, and he and Jess knocked on many doors. He is a passionate follower of UK politics and reader of English literature, especially PG Wodehouse.
Mangoes and justice
If Karim brings you a mango, he'll smell it everyday and will only let you eat it when he's determined it's perfect. Other things Karim loves: pistachio ice cream, buttery croissants, the white sand on the beach where he spends his holidays, his two scraggly cats adopted from the Cairo streets, Egyptian bureaucracy, making the world fairer, learning every single detail about a new subject, other people, having a passionate and infuriatingly well-informed discussion about pretty much any topic.