Rights Activist, Former Thought Prisoner Prevented From Medical Trip Abroad

Rights Activist, Former Thought Prisoner Prevented From Medical Trip Abroad

Human rights activist and former prisoner of thought Khaled Hamza was prevented April 4, 2009 from traveling to the United Kingdom for the first time after his release from prison on April 15, 2008.


Hamza was on his way to London to undergo medical checkups of his heart especially after his last detention during which he was exposed to bad prison conditions which led to complications in his health.  However, security authorities in the Cairo Airport prevented Hamza from boarding the British Airways flight number BA0154 which was scheduled to take off 7:35 a.m.


“After receiving my departure stamp, I was surprised when I heard security calling my name over the speakers.  Then, in the Airport State Security office I was informed that I had been listed among those who were banned from travel,” Hamza said.


“Meanwhile, a security official in the airport took a look at my passport, then crossed out the departure stamp with his blue pen and told me to go back where I came from.  Airport officials were then asked to bring down my luggage from the aircraft which was about to leave minutes after I was stopped,” Hamza added.


Hamza was heading to the U.K. to receive medical treatment by a prominent cardiologist in London.  Hamza’s heart disease is characterized by weakness in the muscles of the heart and irregular heartbeats that were complicated during his detention.


Hamza was kidnapped from his house, on February 18, 2008, by infamous State Security forces upon his return from a meeting with human rights activists Cindy Sheehan and Violette Daguerre during the military trials against MB leaders.


Hamza was then arbitrarily detained as a political opposition prisoner for 55 days in Tora Prison where he was exposed to inhumane treatment such as sharing a cell with more than 80 criminal prisoners who appear to have received orders from prisoner officials to treat Hamza in an unwelcoming manner.  The cell also had no access to air or sunlight.  These conditions along with the clouds of smoke that emanated from the drug exhalations of the criminal prisoners led to the deterioration of Hamza’s health conditions upon which he was moved to El-Manyal University Hospital to receive immediate checkups on his heart and where the hospital’s heart specialist confirmed the seriousness of his health conditions.


Khaled Hamza was born on October 28, 1963 and currently resides in Mansoura where he works as a consultant in the field of Civil Engineering.  Hamza is also the Editor-In-Chief of Ikhwanweb, the MB’s official website in English and a member of the Arab Committee for Human Rights in Paris.


Ikhwanweb had played an active role in criticizing the arbitrary detentions and torture incidents that have increasingly been taking place in Egypt and has recorded a large number of visitors, especially during the last military trials on the MB leaders.


Khaled Hamza is also among those backing the new generation of Egyptian youth as the website which he manages is concerned with exposing young views and action in Egypt and the Middle East.  Moreover, Hamza has played a big role in defending bloggers who were detained by Egyptian security authorities such as Karim Amer, Abdul-Mon’em Mahmud, and Philip Rizk.  Hamza further possesses creative ideas on the issues of moderate Islam and dialogue with the West.


Article XII of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Egypt is a party to, discussed the “liberty of movement” including the right of an individual to “leave any country, including his own.”


Article IX of the same covenant says that every individual has the “right to liberty” and “security of person” and that no one should be subjected to “arbitrary arrest or detention” or “deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.” 


The incident of Khaled Hamza in Cairo Airport is a clear violation of these rights secured in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Egypt.