Urgent Interventions

Ongoing detention, threats and acts of ill-treatment while in detention against Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer


New information

EGY 004 / 0919 / OBS 075.2


Arbitrarydetention /



October10, 2019

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of theWorld Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received newinformation and requests your urgent intervention in the following situationin Egypt.


TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing detention,threats and acts of ill-treatment while in detention against Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah, ablogger and member of the “No to Military Trials for Civilians” movement[1], and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer, humanrights lawyer and Director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms,.

Accordingto the information received, on October 9, 2019, Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah was brought to theState Security Prosecution, where he reported that he was beaten during his arrest,then blindfolded as he wasbrought to Tora High Security Prison 2, forced to strip off all his clothes buthis underwear, beaten up and verbally abused by soldiers as he walked through acorridor into the prison. He has since been subjected to further acts ofbeatings and threats throughout his detention. Moreover, before he was broughtto the State Security Prosecution, he was specifically warned against speakingabout his prison conditions. Yet at the end of the day Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah was brought back to Tora High Security Prison 2 after his pre-trial detention order wasrenewed.

On October 9, 2019, Mr. MohamedEl-Baqer was also brought to the State Security Prosecution for questioning,where he similarly reported thatduring his transfer to Tora High SecurityPrison 2 on September 30, 2019, he was blindfoldedand was made to walk bending while subjected to insults and humiliation. Uponarrival at the prison, he was deprived of all his belongings and dressed inprison uniform while blindfolded. Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer further stated that hehad to wear the same underwear and without any personal hygiene items for nine days. He was not allowed to showerand was left to sleep on the floor, resulting in pains in his back andshoulders. He also contracted a skin infection, but when he asked to beexamined by the prison doctor, his request was denied. While Mr. El-Baqer suffers from renal problems, he was deniedaccess to clean drinking water or food from the prison canteen although hisfamily had left money in his name in the prison safe, as is the rule in prisons.He had to drink the polluted prison water and consume food of extremely badquality, in addition to lack of ventilation in his cell and denying him anytime out of it. As a result Mr. El-Baqerrequested to be transfer to anotherprison. On October 9, 2019,Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer’s detention was also renewed foranother 15 days.

TheObservatory recalls that Mr. AlaaAbdel Fattah was arrested on September 29, 2019. Shortlyafter, his lawyer Mr. MohamedEl-Baqer was in turn arrested (see background information).Both were subsequently accused under Criminal Case 1356 of 2019 by StateSecurity Prosecution on charges of “belonging to a terrorist group”, “funding aterrorist group”, “spreading false news undermining national security” and“using social media to commit publishing offenses”, and were given 15 days ofpreventive detention pending investigation. Their place of detention remainedunknown until October 1, when the prison authorities informed their familiesthat they were detained in Tora High Security prison 2, where conditions ofdetention are very strict, and detainees are held in solitary confinement andare not allowed to receive any visit.

TheObservatory expresses its utmost concern over the above-mentioned acts ofill-treatment against Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah while in detention, which is contrary to Egypt’sobligations under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatmentor Punishment.

TheObservatory is further concerned by the ongoing arbitrary detention of Messrs.Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah and urges the Egyptian authorities torelease them immediately and unconditionally and to put an end to all forms ofharassment against them, including at the judicial level, as well as against allhuman rights defenders in Egypt.


OnSeptember 29, 2019, Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer was arrested at the State SecurityProsecution premises while he was attending an investigation session with hisclient Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah, who had been arrested earlier in the morning ofthat same day in his probation cell at the Dokki police station, where he wasspending his daily 12 hours police monitoring. The Observatory recalls that onMarch 29, 2019 Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah was released under probation from Cairo’sTora prison, at the term of his five-year sentence. As part of his probation,he was required to spend every night at the Dokki police station[2].

OnSeptember 30, 2019, Messrs. MohamedEl-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah were transferred to ToraHigh Security prison 2.

Thearrest of Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah came in the midst of amassive arrest campaign following demonstrations that called for Presidental-Sisi to step down following allegations of corruption and waste of publicfunds made against his family and a number of army leaders. At least 2,200people have been arrested since September 20, 2019 in response to the protests,according to latest reports. On September 27, 2019, the United Nations HighCommissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed “serious concerns about reports of lack of due process followingwide-spread arrests linked to the protests in Egypt, and urged the authoritiesto respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in fullcompliance with international norms and standards”.

Otherhuman rights defenders have also been arrested, including human rightslawyer MahienourEl-Massry and Ms. Asmaa Dabees, founder of the “Daughter of the Nile”, aninitiative working on violence against women in Beheira with a focus ondomestic violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, who were respectively arbitrarily arrested on September 22 andSeptember 26, 2019[3].


Pleasewrite to the authorities in Egypt, urging them to:

i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being ofMessrs. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed El-Baqer, as well as that of allhuman rights defenders in Egypt;

ii.Release Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah immediately andunconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim atpunishing them for their human rights activities;

iii.Conduct an immediate, thorough and independentinvestigation into the above-mentioned allegations of ill-treatment against Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iv.Ensure Messrs. MohamedEl-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah an access to adequatemedical care;

v.Guarantee the unhindered access of Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa AbdelFattah to a lawyer of their choice and their family members;

vi.Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstMessrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, as well as of all human rightsdefenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out theiractivities without hindrance;

vii.Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on HumanRights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations GeneralAssembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;

viii.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.


  • President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email:, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
  • Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email:
  • Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email:
  • Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103
  • Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
  • Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email:
  • Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council for Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email:
  • H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email:
  • Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email:

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respectivecountry.


Geneva-Paris,October 10, 2019

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. Theobjective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations ofrepression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail:

· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] Thismovement was set up in 2011 and denounced human rights abuses committed inparticular by security forces and the army during the rule of the SupremeCouncil of the Armed Forces (SCAF) after the fall of former President Mubarak.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal EGY 002 / 1113 / OBS 095.8, published onMarch 29, 2019.

[3] SeeObservatory Urgent Appeals EGY 003 / 0919 / OBS 074 and EGY 005 / 0919 / OBS 076, published on September 23 and 30, 2019. @font-face { font-family: Wingdings;}@font-face { font-family: "MS Mincho";}@font-face { font-family: "MS Gothic";}@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math";}@font-face { font-family: "@MS Gothic";}@font-face { font-family: "@MS Mincho";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }h1 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; text-indent: 0cm; break-after: avoid; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); font-weight: normal; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }span.Heading1Char { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }span.LienInternet { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }span.Caractresdenotedebasdepage { vertical-align: super; }span.FooterChar { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }span.FootnoteTextChar { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }span.Ancredenotedebasdepage { vertical-align: super; }span.FooterChar1 { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }span.HeaderChar { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }p.ListParagraph1, li.ListParagraph1, div.ListParagraph1 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }span.FootnoteTextChar1 { font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Calibri", sans-serif; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }