Enforced disappearances reported at the speed of three cases everyday

Justice starts with holding to account those responsible for these crimes from  National Security and Military Intelligence

The Egyptian Commission For Rights and Freedoms

Enforced disappearances reported at the speed of three cases everyday

Justice starts with holding to account those responsible for these crimes from  National Security and Military Intelligence

22 December, 2015

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) released a report on Tuesday under the title of “The Disappeared …. Waiting for Justice”. The report has addressed the different patterns of enforced disappearance in Egypt from 2013 till 2015.

The report foud the involvement of some security agencies such as National Security Agency  under the administration of the Interior Ministry and the Military Intelligence Department of the Armed Forces  in the abduction of people and their detention in secret places or illegal detention places such as  the National Security premises, including Lazoghli in Cairo, Central Security Froces camps, National Security HQ in Tanta, and military prisons  including “El-Azzoly prison”, “new El-Azzoly prison” located at the El-Galaa military area in Ismailia inside the headquarters of the Second field army Command.

The crime of enforced disappearance is considered to be a crime against humanity when practised systematically or in a widespread manner. ECRF emphasizes that establishing a state of justice and law can’t be achieved while crimes against humanity such as enforced disappearance is committed.

According to testimonies collected by ECRF, the detainees were subjected during periods of disappearance to different methods of torture, ill-treatment, and degrading to human dignity, using electric shocks, hanging from the hand and head down, and threats of sexual assault in order to extract confessions or collect information on individuals or groups organizing demonstrations or suspected to be involved in terrorist attacks. The victims were kept during their detention blindfolded and hands bound in harsh conditions of detention. The report also pointed out that some of the fate of some cases that have been subjected to enforced disappearance within the week of the events that followed the June 30, 2013 remains unknown till now.

The report explained how the phenomenon of enforced disappearance is had exacerbated in Egypt, presenting a serious threat to the society and threatening the constitution and law enforcement. The report also highlights how the authority gave the green light to the National Security officers to torture detainees without any kind of accountability or oversight from judicial authorities. National Security officers do practice torture against all sort of detainees, men, women, children, elderly, people with political affiliations and people without any affiliations.

The report was made based on interviews with survivors of enforced disappearance who were imprisoned at places of detention under the administration of the National Security and Armed Forces. As well as interviewing some of the families of those who suffered enforced disappearance  and had filed complaints and reports to the General Persecutor stating the disappearance  of their relatives by the National Security or the Armed Forces

ECRF conducted interviews with the lawyers of the victims with the help of a form used to report enforced disappearance in the context of its campaign “Stop Enforced Disappearance”, which succeeded in documenting 340 cases of enforced disappearance between August and November 2015 (or three cases per day).

The report didn’t address the accusations that the some victims were charges with after their reappearance. However, the report discussed the consequences of the crime of enforced disappearance,  as the victim families live in panic and confusion as they don’t know the fate of their relatives, especially if the victim is breadwinner of the family, here extra burden fill on the shoulder of the mother or wife who take the responsibility of the family alone.

The report recommended to the Egyptian authorities the following:

  • To review the complaints filed by families of victims that prove the disappearance of their relatives by the security forces and to investigate them urgently answering the families by an official letters with the results of the investigations
  • Form an official office under the administration of the General Persecutor and to be chaired by general attorney to investigate enforced disappearance cases and to monitor the official and unofficial places of detention.
  • Allow the National Council for Human Right to make sudden visits to the places of detention and to allow human rights organization to visit prisons and places of detention to make sure that they are in compliance with regulations allowing the detainees to enjoy their rights.
  • Criminalization of enforced disappearance s in the Egyptian law and to consider it as a crime no statute of limitations.
  • Join the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance of 2006, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of  1998 and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture of 

The report is available in Arabic at: https://goo.gl/ms3HfS