- December 14, 2015
- 12 minutes read
Executions, Enforced Disappearances Dominate Egyptian Scene on Human Rights Day
This year, the Human Rights Day (December 10) witnesses the military junta’s unprecedented atrocities and violations continuing relentlessly in Egypt, according to a number of human rights reports. Interior Ministry (IM) tentacles continue to persecute, harass and hound citizens, with brutal practices outside the framework of the law, including torture and enforced disappearance, as well as many inhuman violations in places of detention.
The year 2015 witnessed the implementation of a number of death sentences, in political as well as criminal cases. Until the first half of 2015, fourteen death sentences were implemented, including seven in political cases: i.e. the Sidi Gaber case, in which Mahmoud Hassan was executed; and the Arab Sharkas case, in which six Egyptians were executed in a military trial.
Seven more citizens were executed – in criminal cases. On April 29, the coup regime’s prison sector announced the implementation of the death sentence against five prisoners in Assiut General Prison – for murder, theft and weapons-related crimes. In March 2015, two criminals were executed in Damanhur General Prison.
According to "Torture Archive" reports issued by Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, since the beginning of January until the end of November 2015, the Center documented 281 cases of extrajudicial killings, 287 cases of medical negligence, 119 murders inside places of detention – most of whom were in police stations, 440 cases of torture in police stations, 5 cases of sexual violation, 335 enforced disappearances, and 33 cases of mass attacks and beatings by security personnel in various prisons.
The "Freedom for the Brave" group (affiliated with the Left in Egypt) documented cases of enforced disappearance. According to its figures, in the period from the beginning of April 2015 until the first week of June 2015, 163 people were subjected to enforced disappearance, 66 of whom had not been found at the time this report was released; while 64 people had been detained in unknown locations and appeared – after various periods – in detention centers or police stations.
During August and September 2015, the "Stop Forced Disappearance" campaign documented 215 cases of disappearance in cities across Egypt. Moreover, since the beginning of October until November 30, 2015 the campaign documented the disappearance of 125 more people.
During the first half of 2015, the "Egyptian Coordinating Committee of Rights and Freedom" (ECRF) announced – in its "Behind the Sun" report – enforced disappearances of 1250 citizen: 44 in January 2015; 91 in February, 160 in March, and 228 in April 2015.
Enforced disappearances rose sharply in May 2015 in particular, according to ECRF’s report, with the number of victims of this heinous crime reaching 393.
Places of detention – extrajudicial killing grounds
Places of detention around Egypt, especially prisons, have become places for killing detainees outside the law, according to a number of human rights reports. The Stop Egypt Execution (SEE) campaign, in its report issued Thursday, December 10, 2015, explained that the IM are ruthlessly killing off opponents inside jails through torture or systematic deprivation of medical treatment and health care.
Such murderous violations used to be suffered by Aqrab Prison detainees alone. However, according to the SEE campaign, this has been extended into other places of detention, such as the Borg al-Arab Prison and Mazraah Detention Center.
Meanwhile, the Arab Organization for Human Rights documented 50 cases in Egyptian prisons where detainees suffer from a number of diseases as a result of medical negligence, highlighting an urgent need for medical treatment outside prisons, which require compassionate release on medical grounds.
One of those cases is Khairy Hassan Abdel-Aati who suffers from irregular heart rhythms, and needs special medical care unavailable in prison, due to the squalid detention conditions and lack of ventilation, while the prison administration refuses to allow a doctor to visit him on a regular basis.
In a statement by the family of Osama Mustafa Abdel-Aati, arrested and detained in April 26, 2015 (when he was a minor), it is clear that he was arrested from his home, and was detained at an unknown location for 18 days. When he was found, it was evident he had been tortured and subjected to electric shocks, which led to recurring fits of unconsciousness. He was taken to Tora Prison hospital in a coma that lasted two whole days. Nevertheless, before his medical treatment was completed, he was transferred to Wadi Natrun Prison, where the prison administration refuses to let him complete the life-saving treatment, which has lead to the deterioration of his condition.
The family of Rami Mohamed Hussein said that, in October 2015, he suffered paraplegia caused by severe torture in detention dungeons of the Central Security HQ in Ismailia. He was dealt barbaric electric shocks all over his body, and was beaten with wooden sticks. Despite the obvious deterioration of his health, the public prosecutor refuses to release him on medical grounds or to let a tripartite committee examine him.
The Stop Egypt Execution (SEE) campaign launched the "I am an Egyptian, I am a human" campaign, to coincide with the international Human Rights Day (December 10) for "monitoring Egypt’s self-evident severe decline in human rights" – a special two-week campaign.
In a statement, SEE said: "Marking the international Human Rights Day, the Egyptian regime violated all citizens’ rights and unleashed its killing machine to torture and execute people with impunity.
"All human rights suffered a severe setback in the past twelve months, according to all international standards and indicators. As for rights and freedoms, the violation of the right to life tops the list of atrocities and violations in Egypt."
The statement added: "The IM has adopted a policy of executions and assassinations against all political opponents, either directly in victims’ homes or on the streets, or within jails and places of detention – through torture or systematic deprivation of the right to medical treatment and health care.
"Enforced disappearance is a critical issue that still tops the list of violations. Although it is a crime with no statute of limitations, the Egyptian regime and the IM use enforced disappearance as a regular method systematically followed in dealing with opponents."
The statement accused the military coup regime of "committing grave violations in prisons against prisoners of conscience, such as the systematic starvation policy, denial of clean water and medicine, denial of the right to visits and the right to exercise, and the denial of receiving or using blankets or winter clothing in cold weather.
"It was only Aqrab Prison detainees who suffered those brutal violations, but now everyone suffers those systematic atrocities, with other prisons such as the Mazraah Detention Center and Borg al-Arab Prison.
"Human rights violations in Egypt also included certain groups, especially women and children – who become regular victims, frequently arrested by regime forces on political backgrounds and matters of opinion – even for young children."
The SEE statement also said that "violations also included professionals with a special status, such as journalists, lawyers and human rights activists, who are protected by all international charters and conventions, due to their duties relating to public affairs. The military-appointed regime in Egypt has consistently hounded, persecuted and detained those, putting their lives in danger.
"Unfair dismissals from jobs and academic institutions increased tremendously, as a form of political persecution, while most people now suffer poverty, illiteracy and chronic diseases as well as the absence of many essential services and murderous discrimination among different classes of the Egyptian people."
The SEE campaign further called for the regime "to uphold the rule of law in Egypt, to stop civil rights violations, and to provide judicial and parliamentary environments that provide and safeguard security and justice for Egyptian citizens whatever their political opinions or orientations.
"Human rights organizations across the whole world, as well as institutions and civil society organizations, must stand steadfast in support and solidarity, to put an end to these violations and ensure respect for humanity in the Egyptian society."
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it invited all States and organizations to celebrate December 10 of each year as Human Rights Day.
On this day, the United Nations organizes many important political meetings, cultural events and exhibitions related to human rights issues.