Articles for Egypt

Despite the official denial of human rights violations by Egyptian authorities, abuses committed by the security forces continue unabated in the country. Alkarama has documented three new cases of enforced disappearances that occurred in the Beheira Governorate between April and October 2017 following abductions by State Security Forces and the police.

On September 5,   Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) concerning the case of Abdellah Mohamed Ahmed, a 20-year-old student who has been disappeared since he was violently abducted on July 31, 2017 while on his way home from the mosque.

Ahmed was abducted by two men wearing civilian clothing who had been waiting for him in a white car in front of his house. The men later identified themselves to neighbours as police officers.

On September 10, 2017, Ebrahim Metwally was abducted at Cairo International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Geneva to attend a meeting with the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). He was subsequently held incommunicado for two days.

A reporter for the Freedom and Justice newspaper and correspondent of Al Jazeera in the Suez Governorate, 30-year-old Abdul Rahman Shaheen has been detained by Egyptian authorities since 2014 in retaliation for his work as a journalist.

Shaheen had been wanted by the National Security forces since 2013 after he covered the peaceful protests in Suez against the military coup, as well as the repression and abuses committed against the protesters.

Arrest and trial

After a four-year-long confidential inquiry triggered by Alkarama, members of the Committee Against Torture (CAT) issued their conclusions, stating that the practice of torture is “habitual, widespread and deliberate” in Egypt. These conclusions are based on a wide range of cases of violations and an analysis of their structural causes, all of which were provided to the CAT by Alkarama between 2012 and 2016.

Families fear for the lives of nine men who remain missing following their abduction by Egyptian State Security and police forces.

Over the past three weeks, 44 individuals, most of whom young students, were summarily executed by State Security forces while secretly detained for periods ranging from two weeks to a month.

This practice is creating a climate of fear in the country. Families, who are systematically denied any information despite numerous inquiries, are extremely concerned over the fate and physical integrity of their relatives.

On May 24, 2017, 21 news agencies’ websites* were blocked by the Egyptian authorities for “spreading lies” and “supporting terrorism.” The authorities made no official statement and did not inform the news agencies of their decision nor of its grounds. These websites, all known for being critical of the government, remain inaccessible from inside Egypt. The websites of several human rights organisations, including Alkarama and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, have also been targeted by Egyptian authorities.

Alkarama recently brought to the attention of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) the case of 14 men and 4 women*, among whom young students, human rights defenders, political opponents, peaceful activists, filmmakers and journalists. They were all abducted by the State Security, severely tortured in order to sign self-incriminating statements and charged with “belonging to a banned group”.

On 28 May 2017, nine journalists prosecuted in the “Raba’a Operations Room” mass trial were included in a new “terrorist list” issued by the Egyptian authorities. The document was published 20 days after the issuance of their final judgment: while five of them were released, four – Abdullah Alfakharany, Samhy Abdulalim, Mohamed Aladili and Youssouf Talat Abdulkarim – remain in detention at Al Aqrab prison.

On 19 June 2017, the High Military Court upheld on appeal the death sentence of seven men in the Kafr Al Sheikh Stadium bombing case. The men had been sentenced to the capital punishment in 2016 following a flawed trial solely based on statements obtained under brutal torture and testimonies of State Security officers. Should their sentence be carried out, their executions would be summary and constitute a severe violation of Egypt’s human rights obligations.

The “Kafr Al Sheikh Stadium bombing” case