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DAWN calls on Egypt to release Sinai boy forcibly disappeared at 12

Abdullah Boumediene [ZenzanaVoice/Twitter]
Abdullah Boumediene [ZenzanaVoice/Twitter]

The human rights organisation DAWN has once again called on the Egyptian government to release Abdullah Boumediene who was forcibly disappeared from Sinai when he was just 12 years old.

Abdullah has spent four years in prison and has not seen his family since he was transferred to Al Arish Police Station in December 2018. He had been kidnapped from his home in the North Sinai capital of Arish in December 2017, forcibly disappeared and then taken to Katiba 101 Police Station.

Rights organisation We Record has previously reported that Abdullah was interrogated as though he was an adult and accused of joining a terror group despite being only 12 years old and not having a lawyer present.

Amnesty International has previously reported that he was tortured.

Despite a children's court ordering his release in 2018, he was forcibly disappeared and "recycled" onto a new case with fresh charges brought against him.

READ: Egyptian prisoners die 1,000 times in detention

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that arbitrary detention and abuse of children in Egypt is widespread and systematic.

Under Egyptian law, children are not supposed to be detained with adults yet they regularly are. They are kept in squalid conditions with little food and water.

These abuses are particularly hard to track in the Sinai Peninsula where the government has imposed a blackout and severely restricted the entry of journalists and rights workers making their cases difficult to highlight.

However, video evidence has emerged showing unarmed civilians being extrajudicially killed by the Egyptian army in Sinai and then portrayed as terrorists online. War crimes, including against children, have been documented.

Child prisoners have mental health issues for life, long after their release, including PTSD, suicidal thoughts and perpetual feelings of isolation.

In March the Egyptian Network for Human Rights reported that Abdullah had attempted suicide in prison by swallowing a large number of pills after not being able to bear being locked up and the conditions he was being held in.

Abdullah's father has also been forcibly disappeared and it is not yet known where he is, whilst his brother Abdulrahman has been reported to have been extrajudicially killed by the government.

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