Egypt: the arrest of a group of imams, Kafr El-Sheikh March 31, 2010

Egypt: the arrest of a group of imams, Kafr El-Sheikh March 31, 2010

On 28 March 2010, Egypt’s Interior Ministry ordered the administrative detention of following three Imams of mosques belonging to the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf:

1. Sheikh Abdul Fattah Farag – Bila Center
2. Sheikh Abdul Muqtadir Abdul Karim Abdul Muqtadir – Al-Nitaq village
3. Sheikh Abdullah Hammad – Al-Kafr Al-Jadid

The three Imams were part of a group of 11 Imams and Sheikhs belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf from the Egyptian governorate of Kafr Al-Sheikh. The story goes back to 25 February 2010 when State Security Investigative services, along with Central Security troops arrested these 11 individuals without legal or judicial authorization, and forcibly imprisoned in Kafr Al-Sheikh’s Deportation Prison. They were detained incommunicado for over a month without legal charge and never appeared before the Public Prosecutor.

Eight of the eleven Imams were released on 29 March 2010.

According to sources, those released have confirmed that they were psychically and psychological tortured while imprisoned in Kafr Al-Sheikh’s Deportation Prison. They were detained with criminals in a cell holding 24 people that was no bigger than 5 square meters with one 20cm window. They were forced to starve and then given insufficient amounts of food, only later to be denied access to the food and clothing brought to them by their families.

Alkarama takes this opportunity to remind the Egyptian government of the provisions of Article 42 of the Egyptian Constitution:

“Any person arrested, detained or his freedom restricted shall be treated in the manner concomitant with the preservation of his dignity. No physical or moral harm is to be inflicted upon him. He may not be detained or imprisoned except in places defined by laws organising prisons. If a confession is proved to have been made by a person under any of the aforementioned forms of duress or coercion, it shall be considered invalid and futile.”

In addition, Article 71 of the Constitution provides that:

“Any person arrested or detained should be informed, forthwith with the reasons for his arrest or detention. He has the right to communicate, inform, and ask the help of anyone as prescribed in the law.”

Article 40 stipulates that ” All citizens are equal before the law. They have equal public rights and duties without discrimination between them due to race, ethnic origin, language, religion or creed.”

Alkarama requests that the Egyptian authorities release all prisoners of opinion, to desist from the degrading and inhumane practice of torture, and to try all those involved in cases of torture.