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Egypt
22.09.17
Urgent Interventions

Torture and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy

Newinformation

EGY 003 /0917 / OBS 099.1

Arbitrarydetention /

Torture andill-treatment

Egypt
September 22, 2017

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has beeninformed by reliable sources about the torture and ongoing arbitrary detentionof Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy,human rights lawyer, Co-founder and Coordinator of the Association of the Families of theDisappeared in Egypt[1].Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy reportedly also provided legal advice to GiulioRegeni’s family[2].

According to theinformation received, on September 20, 2017, Egypt’s High State SecurityProsecution renewed the preventive detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy for15 days pending investigation. Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is being suspectedof “founding and leading an organisation that was created illegally” (i.e. theAssociation of Families of the Disappeared), “spreading false news” and“communicating with foreign entities in order to undermine national security”.

He is currently detainedat the ‘Scorpion’ (Al-Aqrab) high security wing of Tora prison complex, insolitary confinement, in a cell with refuse and no electricity. He is beingdenied access to his lawyers and family.

In addition, during thedetention renewal hearing, Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy reported to his lawyersthat during his enforced disappearance at State Security premises between September10 and 12, 2017, he was tortured, including by electrocution.

Mr. Ibrahim MetwallyHegazy has been detained since September 10, 2017, when he was forciblydisappeared at Cairo International Airport before boarding a flight to Genevaas he was travelling in response to an invitation by the United Nations WorkingGroup on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). Mr. Ibrahim MetwallyHegazy was held incommunicado until September 12, 2017 (see backgroundinformation).

The Observatory recallsthat Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is not the only member of the Association ofthe Families of the Disappeared who has been targeted by the Egyptianauthorities[3] asarbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances have become common practice inEgypt over the past few years targeting dissenting voices, including humanrights defenders.

The Observatoryexpresses its utmost concern over the ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr.Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, and the torture and ill-treatment he has beensuffering since he was detained, as they appeared to be linked to his humanrights activities.

The Observatory isfurther concerned as ‘Scorpion’ (Al-Aqrab) high security wing of Tora prisoncomplex, where Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is being detained, is notorious forits terrible conditions[4],which puts him at risks of being further tortured.

Consequently, theObservatory urges the Egyptian authorities to guarantee, in all circumstances,his physical and psychological integrity and topromptly investigate the above-mentioned allegations of torture, as well as toimmediately allow him access to his lawyer and family, release him and drop allthe charges brought against him.

Backgroundinformation:

On September 10, 2017,Mr. Metwally Hegazy disappeared at Cairo International Airport before boardinga flight to Geneva. Mr. Metwally Hegazy was travelling to Switzerland inresponse to an invitation by the United Nations WGEID to attend the proceedingsof its 113th Session,held from September 11 to 15, 2017 at the UN Human Rights Council.

His family lost contactwith him around 8 am after he had arrived at the airport, texting that he “washeading to the security [forces’] office” which is near passport control. Theysubsequently contacted the authorities at the Geneva airport who communicatedthat the latter had not arrived on the flight from Cairo, leading them tobelieve that he had been arrested at Cairo International Airport. The lawyersof Mr. Metwally Hegazy contacted the airport police and looked for him innearby police stations but they were not able to obtain any information on hiswhereabouts. They subsequently sent a telegram to the prosecutor general’soffice to report the suspected arrest.

The whereabouts of Mr.Metwally Hegazy remained unknown from that date until September 12, in theevening, when the Stop Enforced Disappearance Campaign reported he had beenlocated in State Security Prosecution custody, in Al-Tagammo’ al-Khamis on theoutskirts of Cairo. He was interrogated by the State Security Prosecution (SSP)for charges of communicating with foreign entities to harm state security,spreading false news and forming and managing a group that was formed againstthe law and the constitution. During his interrogation, his home was searchedby security forces. The official invitation made by the WGEID and Mr. Hegazy’spassport were confiscated as evidence in the criminal case No. 900/2017 openedagainst him. The SSP ordered the detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy for15 days pending investigation, and sent him to the high security wing of Toraprison complex.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to theauthorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical andpsychological integrity of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy as well as all humanrights defenders detained in Egypt;

iii. In the meantime, ensure that Mr. IbrahimMetwally Hegazy has full and unhindered access to his family and lawyersand guarantee his right to due process and fair trial;

iv. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent, effectiveand impartial investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture ofMr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy in order to identify all those responsible, bringthem before an independent tribunal and apply the sanctions provided by the lawto them;

v. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at thejudicial level, against Mr. Ibrahim MetwallyHegazy, and all members of the Association of theFamilies of the Disappeared as well as against all human rightsdefenders in Egypt;

vi. Conform with the provisions of the UNDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of theUnited Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2; and

vii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances therespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional humanrights instruments ratified by Egypt.


Addresses:

· President of the ArabRepublic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg,Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

· Prime Minister, Mr.Sherif Ismail. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016.

· Minister of the Interior,Mr. Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529

· Minister of Justice,Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103 


· Minister of SocialSolidarity, Ghada Waly, Fax: +202 3337 5390

· Public Prosecutor,Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716

· Mr. Mohamed Fayeq,President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 /25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg

· H.E. Mr. Amr Ramadan,Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Email:mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15

· Embassy of Egypt inBrussels, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomaticmissions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva, September22, 2017

Kindly inform us of anyaction undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression againsthuman rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call theemergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Theorganisation name in arabic is “Awqefoo el Ikhtifaa el Qasry” (Stop EnforcedDisappearances) which aims to determine the fate and whereabouts of"disappeared" family members. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy became anactive human rights defender working on the issue of enforced disappearancesafter the disappearance of his son Amr Ibrahim Metwally, who was forcibly disappeared on July 8, 2013 and is stillmissing.

[2] Giulio Regeni was anItalian graduate who was abducted and tortured to death in Egypt. See OMCTPress Release, “Ayear after Regeni’s death, still no justice or steps to end torture in Egypt”,issued on January 25, 2017.

[3] FellowCo-founder Ms. Hanan Badr El-Din Othman was arrested on May 6, 2017 andremains in detention since that date. Mr. Islam Salameh, another lawyer who represents the forciblydisappeared families, was arrested by thesecurity forces in March 2016, briefly held in incommunicado detention, and released in June 2016. Mr. Ahmed Amasha, Co-founderof the League for Families of the Disappeared, has been detained since March10, 2017 without trial or a formal indictment. He was also forcibly disappearedduring several days and severely tortured. See the Observatory’s Urgent Appeal EGY 003 / 0917 / OBS 099 issuedon September 13, 2017.

[4] See “We are in tombs”Abuses in Egypt’s Scorpion Prison, Human Rights Watch report,2016.

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