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Enforced disappearance a never-ending crime in Egypt, rights groups say

September 1, 2021 at 11:48 am

Egyptian security forces on 19 December 2017 [Anadolu Agency]

The Egyptian authorities have forced the disappearance of 11,224 people since the military coup that toppled the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, including 3,045 in 2020 alone, a number of human rights organisations have said.

Amnesty International said an average of three to four people have been forcibly disappeared every day since the beginning of 2015, adding that most of the victims are supporters of the late President Mohamed Morsi, as well as secular activists and their relatives.

The Director of the Victims Centre for Human Rights in Alexandria, Haitham Ali Abu-Khalil, said Egypt will continue to use enforced disappearance as long as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is in power.

According to Abu-Khalil, in March 2015, Al-Sisi brought in the former Minister of Interior, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to achieve two goals, physical liquidation and enforced disappearance as a means of intimidation.

He quoted a Reuters report which documented 465 cases of extrajudicial killings in the Sinai peninsula.

The Executive Director of the Egyptian Network for Human Rights, Ahmed Al-Attar, said there is an absence of oversight by the public prosecutor and therefore no accountability for security agencies. Adding that the organisation has documented the enforced disappearance of six minors who were detained when they were under 18 years old.

The real number of people who have been forcibly disappeared is unknown, he added, because security services don’t announce when they have arrested people, and families are often too scared to report detentions.

READ: ENHR calls for release of Sinai boy arrested at 16 and forcibly disappeared