An enforced disappearance" is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.
Since July 2013 the Egyptian authorities have engaged in arbitrary abductions of citizens despite calls by international rights organizations and activists to end the action.
The authorities arbitrarily arrested civilians without justification or legal support subjecting them to enforced disappearance without information to the family regarding location or reasons behind the arrests. Several complaints have been lodged to the prosecutor general and interior minister however to no avail.
HRM expresses its deep concern regarding the notable escalating of enforced disappearances which some Egyptian civilians and foreigners have faced nationwide indicating the absence of stability and rule of law in the country.
HRM has issued several statements on the enforced disappearances and has called on the authorities to end the violation and disclose where detainees are being held and to hold hearings in front of free, just and unbiased courts. It has also sent several complaints to the UN to end the crime however to no avail or response from the Egyptian authorities which continue to violate rights despite public humiliation in one such case as the Italian student Giulio Regini who died after being brutally tortured.
HRM has documented 300 cases of arbitrary detentions including 149 cases of enforced disappearances among them in March 2016. Over half of arrested detainees have gone missing including 40 cases missing following release orders by prosecution.
In March 53 university students, 10 minors and 85 men and one woman have gone missing
Mohamed Hassan Abdul Hamid Ali
On March 1st, Giza security forces arrested Mohamed 40, a legal accountant from his workplace while in his car and took him to a friend's house and arrested his friend as well. They were later taken to an unknown place and their families have no information regarding their location. Several complaints have been lodged to the prosecutor and attorney general in Giza.
Mahmoud Saber Hassan 46
HRM received a complaint from the wife of Mahmoud Hassan 46 stating security forces stormed his store and attacked him using wooden rods and hit him on the back of the head in front of neighbours on March 2nd and led him away to an unknown place. His wife expressed her deep concern after searching for her husband in all police stations stressing she feared he may face the same fate as those executed after their arrest in the 6th of October city apartment.
Mohamed Ali Hussein Asal
On March 8th, security forces in Kafr el Sheikh arrested Mohamed 32, a clothes store owner from his home without legal support. His family stated that forces stormed their home, destroyed its contents and arrested Mohamed taking him to an unknown place. Despite complaints submitted to the Kafr el Sheikh prosecutor, officials at police stations deny their presence. Mohamed is the family's sole income earner and the arrest has had a negative impact on his family.
Omar Abdallah Abdul Maqsoud
Security forces on March 15th arrested Omar 17, a third year secondary student from his home on Mehalla Kubra and subjected him to enforced disappearance. His family stated that force stormed their home and arrested the minor while he was sleeping and took him away. His family has submitted several telegraphs to the prosecutor general however to no avail.
Mohamed Khaled Baqreya
Security forces in Sharqeya arrested Mohamed 16, a first year secondary student from near his school in Kafr Sakr on March 16th. According to his colleagues forces waited for him in front of the school gates and arrested him taking him to an unknown place. His family has tried to gather information regarding his whereabouts however to no avail.
Azhar University Students
Egyptian security forces arrested a group of Azhar Science Faculty students from their Assuit apartment.
On March 24th, forces arrested Ossama Mohamed Shaaban Abdul Wahab 19 a first year college student, Abdallah Saad Ali Abdo 21, a third year college student and Mohamed Ali Mahmoud Mohamed Alalfi 20, a second year college student and led them to unknown places.
On March 29th, security forces stormed the student's dorm in Assuit and arrested another group of students including: Abdallah Mohamed Gamal el Deen Tayel 22 a fourth year college student, Abdul Salam Zaghloul Alremady 19, a second year student, Mohamed Selim Anbar 20 a second year student, Abdul Hamid Mansour Ali 20, a second year college student, Mohamed Magdy Mohamed 20, a third year college student, Ossama Ibrahim Alazizi 22, a fourth year college student, Ihab Saad Abdul Hamid Qassem 20, a third year student Mohamed Mahmoud Abu Ganeb 22 a fourth year student, Abdul Azim Ragab Ahmed Nada 21 a third year student and Ibrahim Saeed Ali Shuman 19 a first year college student. Security forces led them away to an undisclosed destination following the arrest.
No information regarding their whereabouts has been offered as yet despite lodged complaints to the prosecutor and attorney general in Assuit.
Alexandria Football Field Detainees
On March 28th, security forces in Alexandria stormed a football field in Seyouf and arrested 13 youths who were playing football. The detainees include: Abdul Rahman Mhamed Harby, 20 a first year engineering student, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Alzoheiry, 19 an first year Arts student, Zaki Mohamed Zaki an accountant, Ahmed Abdul Wahed an Islamic studies student ad Mohamed Reda a commerce student.
Alexandria Forces Also Arrested 10 Individuals This Month
In Alexandria, security forces arrested another 10 people during this month, including second year secondary student Khalid Al Sayed Abdul Mageed Al Bari. Security forces stormed his house in the morning of March 28 and took him to an unknown destination.
Abdul Rahman Mohammed Ahmed Albehi, a third year engineering student, was also arrested by security forces from one of the cafes situated at Al Ithaa Street along with 4 friends who were with him on March 30. His family learned from his friends who were later released that he is subjected to torture at the 4th floor of Alexandria's Security Headquarters. However, all police stations in Alexandria still deny his existence
Enforced Disappearance Of One-Family Members
On March 3rd, security forces stormed the Sarh Medical Centre in Sidi Bishr – Alexandria – and arrested Dr Hassan Ahmed Mohammed Morsi, a 52-year-old man, and his son Amr, an engineering student, who was going to see his father. Both father and son have been subjected to enforced disappearance and the family has lodged telegraphs to the Prosecutor General in Alexandria but in vain.
On March 6th, security forces arrested Eng. Yaser Ibrahim Arafat, 44 from his house in Maadi. Security forces beat him until he lost consciousness and took him to an unknown destination.
The next day, his wife, Dr. Basma Abdel Monem, accompanied her brother Mohamed 30, to report her husband’s abduction. She was subsequently detained by officers. After two days of Dr. Basma’s detention, the security forces announced the arrest of Dr. Basma and charged her with funding the cell accused of assassinating the former Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat.
Disappearance After the Public Prosecution's Decision to Release
Since the beginning of 2015, the Egyptian authorities have pursued a new approach by subjecting detainees ordered by the public prosecution to be released to enforced disappearance again or trumping up new charges for such detainees and renewing their imprisonment pending new cases.
During this month, HRM has monitored 40 cases of enforced disappearances after the prosecution's decision to release them, which is contrary to the laws of the public prosecution.
On March 5th, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of detainee, Mohammed Sayaf who was arrested on February 26th, 2016. He suffers from heart disease, diabetes and hepatitis. However, he was again subjected to enforced disappearance after the order of his release despite deteriorating health conditions.
Beni Souef Group
Between March 10 and March 22, the public prosecution in Beni Suef ordered the release of a group of detainees however all are still subjected to enforced disappearance and no one knows where they are held. The detainees include Ahmed Abdul Latif Ahmed a retired employee, Mohamed Qurani Saad an employee, Ayman Hassan Fikri a commerce graduate, Mahmoud Tamam Sayed a statistics technician, Mustafa Sayed Ali a farmer, Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim an accountant, Mohamed Adly Gomaa a worker, Abdul Halim Abdul Mageed Mahmoud a lawyer, Mohamed Hassan Sayed Saad a lawyer, Mohamed Ali Mohamed Madkoor a teacher, Ahmed Samir Abed a teacher, Samir Abdul Aal Jawda, Mohamed Hashem a ceramics technician, Emad Hassan Sayed technical diploma, Mustafa Ahmed Thekri a pharmacist's assistant, Tariq Hassan Maawad a medical services technician, Said Sayed Ibrahim a dealer, Mamdouh Gomaa Azeed a teacher, Mohamed Hassan Sayed Abu Zeid, Ashraf Ismail Ahmed, Ahmed Abdul Khaliq Mohamed, a pharmacist, Mohamed Saeed Ahmed a doctor, Rady Qasim Abdallah – an electrician, Mohamed Badawi Mahmoud a student , Hassan Rady Hassan a waiter, Abdul Rahman Bayoumy a student, Mohamed Rabie Saad, Mohamed Ali Qiyaty a pharmacist, Mustafa Jamal Shaibah- a student, Saeed Eid Abdul Moaty, Shaaban Sayed Khalil, Mohamed Hamid Qutb, Saudi Ahmed, Ahmed Saadawy and Islam Salah.
On 27th and 28th March, State Security Prosecution in Nasr City ordered the release of both Abdul Aziz Sami Al-Faramawy and Moaz Mohammed Safwat. However, their families and lawyers were surprised that they were not in the police station and subjected to enforced disappearance.
There are some people who are ordered to be released, and each time they are subjected to enforced" "disappearance and new cases are trumped up for them
In January and June 2015, the Public Prosecution of Suez ordered the release of Hossam Tariq Eissa a 20-year-old university student. However, each time, new
charges are trumped up for him and his detention is renewed. On March 10, 2016, he was issued a release order but was subjected to enforced disappearance. To date he has not been released and his family has no information regarding his disappearance.
Hossam Moselhy Desouki an accountant was arrested on October 2015 and was subjected to enforced disappearance for 40 days until he appeared on November 24 pending the case 5589/2015. He was released on December 9th but was subjected again to enforced disappearance for 50 days before he appeared on February 2nd, 2016 pending a new case.
He was released on February 15th but was subjected to enforced disappearance for the third time. He then appeared a week after the first case but was not released and has been subjected to enforced disappearance for the fourth time for a week and appeared pending a new case after which he was released on March 17, 2016. However, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance for the fifth time and to date his family does not know anything about him.
HRM emphasizes that enforced disappearance is a crime contrary to all laws and conventions; in accordance with Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance which reads:
Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity.
It is condemned as a denial of the objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this regard.
Any act of enforced disappearance places the persons subjected thereto outside the protection of the law and inflicts severe suffering on them and their families. It constitutes a violation of the rules of international law guaranteeing, inter alia, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security of the person and the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also violates or constitutes a grave threat to the right to life.
In accordance with Article 7 for crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute, such crimes are defined as follows: "For the purpose of this Statute, ‘crime against humanity’ means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack–: I) Enforced Disappearance.
In addition, pursuant to Article 5 of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance:
The widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity as defined in applicable international law and shall attract the consequences provided for under such applicable international law.
It is worth mentioning that HRM has documented more than 1700 cases of enforced disappearance since July 2013 including dozens of persons who are unaccounted for; their families do not know anything about them for more than two years. Such cases include hundreds who have confessed to crimes under torture whose effects are clear either to their families or lawyers or in the videos, published by the Ministry of Interior, in which they confess to the alleged crimes, which is a violation to the Convention against Torture which defines torture in Article 1 as:
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction.
HRM renews its call on the Egyptian authorities to put an end to the phenomenon of enforced disappearance, to release all detainees subjected to enforced disappearance, to take measures and develop mechanisms for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance. Moreover, the organization calls on Egyptian authorities to respect and adhere to international conventions and human rights treaties and release all enforceably disappeared persons or give them the right to fair trials.
HRM also calls on the international community to send fact-finding commissions to document all cases of enforced disappearance and to call for the accountability of perpetrators of such crimes and discuss the proliferation of enforced disappearance crimes in Egypt to the UN Security Council and refer .thereof to the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity