Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Egypt: 163 persons ''disappeared'' in last two months alone

At least 163 people have been forcibly disappeared and illegally detained by security forces in the past two months alone, according to a document published by the Freedom for the Brave campaign on its official Facebook page.
According to the group’s breakdown of these cases, 66 activists have gone missing in this time period, and their whereabouts are still unknown. Another 64 people were only located after they had been detained without charges or interrogation for more than 24 hours in an undisclosed location, in violation of the Constitution. Another 31 cases cited in the document have not yet been verified by the group.
At least two of the people included in the list were allegedly killed by security forces, including Ain Shams University student Ismail Atito and Sinai resident Sabry al-Ghoul.
Islam Atito
Islam Atito

The majority of these incidents occurred in Cairo, where 60 cases of forced disappearances have been reported, followed by Kafr al-Sheikh with 31, 16 in Giza and 13 in Daqahlia. Suez, Matrouh, the Red Sea, the New Valley and South Sinai were the only governorates that did not report any such cases in the past two months.
Freedom for the Brave said that the majority of the information compiled to create this database was gathered from the group’s own research on certain cases it has been directly following, as well as from documentation compiled by other rights organizations and complaints circulated on social media by the families of the disappeared. The campaign also published the tracking numbers of the official complaints that families have submitted to the prosecution.
“Activists have been forcibly disappeared since July 2013, but this number is now increasing at an unprecedented rate,” Freedom for the Brave member Tarek Mohamed told Mada Masr.
He believes that the current crackdown is a general “continuation of the regime’s policies against any movement associated with the January 25 revolution,” but also a specific reaction against the April 6 Youth Movement’s call for a general strike on June 11.
But the crackdown is baseless, Mohamed argued. The call to strike does not violate any law, as it is a “call for the people to stay home in protest against deteriorating economic conditions and ongoing arrests,” he claimed.
Several of the people who have been illegally detained and held in undisclosed locations were later charged with belonging to the April 6 Youth Movement, which the courts ruled an illegal organization last year, Mohamed pointed out. They also faced accusations of coordinating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood group and calling for the June 11 strike.
“Those accusations were leveled against activist Dalia Radwan, the only one released on bail, and a member of the Helwan University Student Union, Ahmed Khattab, who appeared in front of the prosecution bearing signs of torture,” Mohamed said. “Nagwa Ezz and Ahmed al-Zayyat faced similar charges”.
However, Mohamed added that the prosecution has since reversed its decision to release Radwan and remanded her into custody for 15 days pending investigations.
Mohamed also spoke of photojournalist Israa al-Taweel, Sohaib Mohamed and Amr Mohamed, who were illegally detained on June 1. Their families and lawyers have still not been able to obtain any information on their whereabouts.
“We fear that those who disappeared face the same fate of Atito,” Mohamed said, referring to the Ain Shams University student who disappeared on May 19 after he was allegedly summoned out of an exam room by a security officer and another unidentified man. He was found dead the following day. The Interior Ministry released a statement claiming the student was involved in the assassination of a police officer, and had been killed in an exchange of fire with police forces when he tried to evade arrest.
The ministry has denied all reports of forced disappearances.

No comments: