Egypt: Extrajudicial Execution of Four individuals by Security Forces Amid Growing Trend of Human Rights Violations
On 25 April 2017, Alkarama sent a communication to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SRSUMEX) concerning executions which have taken place across Egypt over the past years. These cases of three young students – including a child and a woman – as well as a religious scholar, are only a few out of the hundreds of summary executions carried out by various security forces in Egypt. While two of them were summarily executed after their arrest, two others were killed during peaceful demonstrations due to excessive use of force.
Extrajudicial execution following arrest by the security services
On 7 April 2017, Mohamed Adel Belboula, a young religious scholar from the Al Azhar University of Cairo, posted a message on his Facebook account in which he criticised the current regime and called for the respect of civil and political freedoms. Belboula was arrested the very same day in the afternoon, in reprisals for his post, and shot dead shortly after by police forces by the Sharbeen Damietta Canal in El Basarta village.
Belboula and his family have been continuously harassed by the Damietta police since 2014, after he took part to a peaceful demonstration against the regime and following which he was arrested and sentenced to six months imprisonment by the Damietta Criminal Court. His wife, Mariam Tork, a student in the Damietta governorate university, was arrested in May 2015 and sentenced to a year and a half of imprisonment for taking part to a peaceful demonstration. In 2016, police forces burnt down their house as well as other houses of families considered to be “supporting the Muslim Brotherhood”. Belboula was considered by the Damietta police as a political opponent and supporter of the Muslim brotherhood.
On 25 August 2016, Abdelrahman Mohamed Ahmed Gamal was going with a colleague to his work place, a medical testing laboratory located in the 6th of October City, Giza Governorate, when he was abducted by members of the National Security Agency in uniforms before being taken to an unknown location. On 29 August 2016, Gamal’s family filed several complaints with the Egyptian authorities to inquire about the fate of their son, in the absence of any response from the authorities, Gamal’s family requested Alkarama’s assistance, who referred the case to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) on 14 September 2016.
On 6 December 2016, the Ministry of Interior announced Gamal’s death on its website, stating that the National Security Forces found Gamal’s body after a “counter terrorism operation” conducted in the Assiut Governorate. According to Gamal’s family, this information is a way for the authorities to cover the summary execution of their relative since Gamal was abducted by the same security forces a few months before. These allegations have been corroborated by videos released by Human Rights Watch showing security forces summarily executing individuals in custody (video 1, video 2). When they were allowed to see and identify Gamal’s body, his family noticed marks of cigarettes’ burns, electrocutions on different parts of his body, marks around his ribs and wrists, showing that Gamal had been brutally tortured. They further reported that his body was also bearing seven gunshot wounds.
Execution of peaceful protesters
Over the past years, the Egyptian security forces have carried out hundreds of extrajudicial executions of political opponents and peaceful protesters across the country, including numerous students and children. In spite of the several complaints filed by the families of the victims, no investigations were conducted to bring the perpetrators to justice. After exhausting all possible recourses with the Egyptian authorities and in the absence of any answer, the families of the victims expressly requested that these cases be referred to the Special Rapporteur. Therefore, Alkarama has submitted the cases of Heba Gamal Abdelalem Mohamed Soliman a 19 year-old student and Yousuf Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Khafagi, a 14-year-old child.
On 3 July 2014, Heba Soliman took part to a peaceful protest in Alexandria when members of the Special Forces and the Army attacked the protesters, opening fire indiscriminately into the crowd and beating them up. Soliman was brutally beaten and shot in the leg in front of many other protesters by agents of the Special Forces who were wearing masks and civilian clothes. Soliman was taken to three different hospitals where she was each time denied medical care despite her severe wounds, she died as a result of heavy bleeding at 10 pm in the street. After her father filed a complaint with the Egyptian authorities, they confiscated their burial permit, denying them the right to bury their loved one.
On 27 July 2013, Yousuf Khafagi, a 14-year-old child, was taking part in a peaceful protest in front of the Mosque Qa’id Ibrahim in Alexandria when, at around 7.30 pm, police forces in uniforms opened fire against demonstrators to disperse the crowd. Khafagi was shot twice, once in the abdomen and once in the chest; he was then taken to a hospital and died at 9 pm as a result of his wounds. After three years, and although reports were filed by the family with the police station of Attarine and the Office of the Prosecutor of Alexandria, no investigation was ever opened on the case.
“These horrifying accounts show the human tragedies behind the practice of summary and extrajudicial execution by Egyptian security forces which has been increasing in the past years,” said Radidja Nemar, Alkarama's Regional Legal Officer for North Africa. “We are all the more concerned that Egypt declared, on 9 April 2017, the state of emergency, and we fear, given the complete impunity in which security forces have been repeatedly carrying out these summary executions, that the situation will only worsen in the near future,” she added.
In light of above information, Alkarama called upon the Special Rapporteur to intervene with the Egyptian authorities concerning the four victims of extrajudicial execution to request that prompt, independent, impartial investigation be carried out on these cases and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Alkarama further requested the Special Rapporteur to urge the Egyptian authorities to put an end to the practice of execution of individuals detained and remind them that the right to life, security and liberty are applicable at all times.
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