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Family of forcibly disappeared Abdullah Boumedine celebrates his 16th birthday

Egyptian child Abdullah Bomadeen [WeRecordEN/Twitter]
Egyptian child Abdullah Bomadeen [WeRecordEN/Twitter]

The family of a boy who was arrested in Sinai on 31 December 2017 is celebrating his sixteenth birthday whilst he remains forcibly disappeared.

Abdullah Boumedine was taken by security forces from his home in the North Sinai capital of Arish when he was just 12 years old, forcibly disappeared, then taken to Katiba 101 Police Station.

Abdullah was interrogated without a lawyer present and accused of joining a terror group and planting explosives.

Human Rights Watch have said that Egyptian military and police forces in Sinai are committing widespread abuses against civilians, some of which are part of a campaign against the local Daesh affiliate, and which amount to war crimes.

Under this campaign authorities have carried out mass, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Abdullah was detained in solitary confinement for over three months during which time he was tortured.

Egypt: Highest number of journalists behind bars in Arab world

A year later a children's court in Abbasiya ordered that he be released but instead he was deported to the National Security Headquarters in Arish where he was tortured, forcibly disappeared again.

He has not been seen since 10 January 2019.

Abdullah's father has also been forcibly disappeared for two years and his older brother Abdulrahman died after being arrested and tortured.

Abdullah is reported to have attempted suicide in prison after not being able to bear the conditions of his detention any longer, in particular being denied contact with his family.

Suicides are becoming alarmingly common in Egypt's prisons yet are often not reported on unless they are attempted by famous personalities.

Political activists Mocha and Oxygen tried to take their own lives in August, the former after being denied a visit from his family.

Children are treated as adults in prison and often humiliated, held in abhorrent conditions, and are treated as perpetrators rather than the victims.

Human Rights Watch have said that the arbitrary detention and abuse of children in Egypt is widespread and systematic.

In one prison, the guidance and psychological counsellor, who was employed to help the children, tortured, insulted and beat them.

Children, even after they are released, face depression, suicidal thoughts, isolation, and detachment from the world.

There is legislation in place to protect these children, including the Child Law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it does little to protect them.

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