Creating new perspectives since 2009

Egypt: Forcible disappearances ‘increasingly widespread and systematic’

February 21, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Protesters in Cairo, Egypt [Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images]

A group of Egyptian human rights organisations are demanding that the government stop forcible disappearances and that authorities carry out independent investigations into perpetrators.

Between 2013 and January 2023 the Stop Enforced Disappearance Campaign documented that over 3,600 people were forcibly disappeared.

“These harrowing numbers indicate a systematic crisis in which citizens continue to be at risk of enforced disappearance and reprisal,” their joint statement read.

Forcible disappearances are “increasingly widespread and systematic,” say the Egyptian Front for Human Rights and El Nadeem Centre, who are among the signatories.

“The undersigned human rights organisations demand an end to the crime of enforced disappearance in Egypt and condemn the State Security Prosecution’s charges against victims of this crime.”

“In defiance of the Egyptian constitution and law, and the international covenants to which Egypt has acceded, the Prosecution has abandoned its role as an investigative body into incidents of prolonged disappearance while neglecting to hold accountable implicated Ministry of Interior and National Security personnel.”

READ: Egypt MP calls for probe into gov’t corruption

Between the end of 2022 until February 2023, 40 people have reappeared after being forcibly disappeared, including a 13-year-old boy.

According to the statement, these detainees were tortured and held incommunicado at the National Security headquarters. Most of them were accused of “joining a group established in violation of the law.”

In addition to rising forcible disappearance cases, Egyptian authorities target people and organisations that document these cases inside Egypt.

Co-founder of the Association of the Forcibly Disappeared, Ibrahim Metwally, has been detained since 2017.

Ibrahim’s son, Amr Ibrahim Metwally, was forcibly disappeared in 2013, which inspired his father to work on the issue of enforced disappearances.

He was also the lawyer for Giulio Regeni’s family. Regeni was a PhD student researching trade unions when his body was found by the side of the road after he was tortured to death.

The Committee for Justice has said that enforced disappearance is one of the most serious and prominent violations practiced against detainees in Egypt, in particular political prisoners.

READ: Egypt sends aid ship to quake victims in Syria