Egypt: Alkarama Condemns Closure Procedure Against Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture

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Alkarama calls upon the Egyptian authorities to revoke the procedure launched on 17 February 2016 to close the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture. Founded in 1993, the Nadeem Center is a well-known Egyptian clinic that has provided professional council and assistance to thousands of victims of torture and other forms of violence since its creation. As it started to document an increasing number of cases of police violence, the administrative procedure launched against it seems to have no other aim than stifling one of the few remaining independent organisations in the country.

In a recent statement, the Nadeem Center reported that, on 17 February 2016, they had received a visit from two police sergeants and an architect, who handed them a closing order from a body affiliated to the Ministry of Health, according to which, the institution had breached several unspecified "license conditions". The policemen therefore asked the director of the center, Dr Mona Hamed, to leave the building, but the Nadeem Center's lawyer managed to postpone the execution of the order until the reason justifying it would be clarified with the Ministry of Health.

When the clinic's staff discovered that Law n°453-2016 used to justify the institution's closure concerned industrial and commercial shops and not clinics, it became clear that the decision to close it was a political one − not a response to so-called infringements to regulations − due to its major work on the fight against torture, such as documented in its 2015 annual report that listed hundreds of cases of torture and of deaths resulting either from police brutality or medical negligence. The Nadeem Center therefore decided to file a complaint before an administrative court and stated that it would continue to operate regardless of the authorities' decision regarding its closure.

Alkarama, which has also documented an increasing number of cases of torture and medical negligence since the July 2013 military coup − including in a recent report showing that deaths in detention had trebled over the past two years − supports the Nadeem Center in its various initiatives and calls upon the authorities to end the crackdown against independent organisations and human rights defenders.

"The decision to close an organisation such as Nadeem Center takes place in a particularly difficult time for Egyptians, which have seen in the past years a generalisation and a systematisation of the worst human rights violations. In fact, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial executions are now common place," said Rachid Mesli, Legal Director at Alkarama. "Closing prominent human rights organisations and arresting human rights defenders is also a mean for the authorities to eradicate the issue of human rights violations: if there is no one to alert the international community about them, then violations do not exist anymore."

Alkarama, which renews its commitment to fight against human rights abuses and the impunity their perpetrators enjoy in Egypt and other Arab countries, stands by those who share its mission and calls upon the international community to take effective measures for the Egyptian authorities to urgently end their continuous crackdown on human rights defenders and organisations that has been taking place for over two and a half years.

For more information or an interview, please contact the media team at media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).