Egypt: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali

10/04/2018
Urgent Appeal

EGY 001 / 0418 / OBS 043
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Egypt
April 10, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali, a human rights defender and independent journalist.

According to the information received, on March 26, 2018, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals rejected Mr. Ibrahim Omar’s appeal and confirmed his sentence to 25 years in prison, under charges of “joining a terrorist group” and “leaking false military information”.

Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali was arrested on June 1, 2015, in front of the Nile City boat in Zamalek, Cairo by three men in civil clothing, and was held incommunicado for 16 days in the State security building of Lazoughly and in a military intelligence building in Cairo. During this time, he was subjected to acts torture in order to force him to memorize two papers which were then recorded in a fake confession video. After having signed the investigation papers while blindfolded and in absence of his lawyer, Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali was sent to Tora prison where he was detained for almost a year without any charge and where he remains detained to date.

On May 29, 2016, Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the West Cairo Military Court following an unfair trial based on the confessions obtained under torture.

In November 2017, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) published an opinion [1] in which it considered Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali’s detention to be arbitrary and urging his immediate release and his right to compensation. The opinion asserted that Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali and other 17 individuals were “charged with ‘belonging to a banned group’ after being severely tortured in order to get them to sign statements incriminating themselves”, in clear breach of articles 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and of articles 7, 9, 10, 14, 16, 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali, which is in breach of international law and represents a reprisal against his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities. Moreover, the Observatory expresses its utmost concerns at the worsening health condition of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali, who is held in an overcrowded and unhygienic cell and has no access to medical care.

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to fully implement the WGAD opinion by immediately and unconditionally releasing Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali and to conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of torture of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law. In the meantime, the Observatory calls upon the Egyptian authorities to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali and his right to fair trial.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali as well as all detained human rights defender in Egypt;
iii. Conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of torture of Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Omar Mohamed Ali as well as against all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;
v. In the meantime, guarantee his right to a fair trial and due process;
vi. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2; and
vii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Fax: +202 2391 1441. Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg, Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
Prime Minister, Mr. Sherif Ismail. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016.
Minister of the Interior, Mr. Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529
Minister of Justice, Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103 

Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Waly, Fax: +202 3337 5390
Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
H.E. Mr. Amr Ramadan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, April 10, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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