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Egypt: Engineer Essam Kamal forcibly disappeared for six years

A picture taken during a guided tour organised by Egypt's State Information Service on February 11, 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian prison on February 11, 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

For the sixth year, engineer Essam Kamal has been forcibly disappeared following his arrest in 2016 from 6th October City, 20 miles outside the Egyptian capital.

According to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights one year after security forces arrested Essam, he was accused of being among a group of people who attempted to assassinate the public prosecutor.

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In 2015, Egypt's public prosecutor died after a bomb hit his convoy in Cairo.

In March 2020 a court sentenced Eassam to life imprisonment in absentia even though he was arrested in August 2016.

Essam's family have tried to put pressure on authorities to reveal where he is being held but they still have no idea where he is.

Several of his fellow detainees have confirmed to the ENHR that Essam was severely tortured inside prison.

READ: WJP ranks Egypt 135 out of 140 in Rule of Law Index

Torture is systematic in Egypt and is often used as vengeance against political opponents.

According to the Geneva-based Committee for Justice, enforced disappearance is a "systematic and continuous" policy, also used by the government to suppress political opponents.

Enforced disappearance is one of the most serious violations committed against political detainees in Egypt which tortures families who agonise over the fate of their loved ones.

Since 2013 the Egyptian government has cracked down on activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and ordinary citizens to consolidate control and stamp out dissenting voices.

As international pressure has ramped up against Egypt's human rights record, in particular the detention of 60,000 political prisoners, the government has attempted to clean up its image.

The UN climate change conference held in Egypt became a platform for rights advocates to speak out about rights abuses in the country.

But these reforms have been criticised as being merely cosmetic, or designed for international consumption.

Last week the Presidential Pardon Committee published the names of 30 political prisoners they released and on the same day arrested 40 other people.

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