Egypt: Enforced disappearance while in detention of Mr. Tarek Hussein

07/07/2017
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 001 / 0617 / OBS 066.1

Enforced disappearance /
Arbitrary detention
Egypt
July 7, 2017

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the enforced disappearance while in detention of Mr. Tarek Hussein (known as Tito), human rights activist and lawyer at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) [1].

According to the information received, on July 4, 2017, Mr. Tarek Hussein who had been detained at Ain El-Shams Police Station since June 20, 2017, was set to be transferred to Imbaba Police Station. However, Imbaba Police Station has since been denying Mr. Tarek Hussein’s presence within their premises.

In addition, on July 6, 2017, the Prison Authority told Mr. Tarek Hussein’s family he was not being held in any of their facilities, but refused to provide written proof of this. As of publication of this appeal, no information on the whereabouts of Mr. Tarek Hussein was available.

Following his enforced disappearance while in detention, Mr. Tarek Hussein’s family has submitted a complaint before the National Council for Human Rights on July 6, 2017. In addition, on July 5, 2017 the Lawyers’ Syndicate has filed a complaint against the Minister of Interior regarding the various violations of of Mr. Tarek Hussein’s rights. Although at least one newspaper article quoted an anonymous Ministry of Interior source stating that Tito would be held until authorities were able to fully confirm that he was not implicated in any other cases, no formal, written response to any of the complaints submitted by the family or the Syndicate have been received.

Mr. Tarek Hussein was first arrested on June 17, 2017 by officers from the Central Security Forces. Although he was not shown any arrest warrant he was later accused of “joining an illegal organization” and “calling for a protest”. The following day, he was granted provisional release on bail but remained detained (see background information).

The Observatory expresses its outmost concerns over the enforced disappearance while in detention of Mr. Tarek Hussein and consequently urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts and allow him access to his lawyer and family.

The Observatory further urges Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Tarek Hussein as his detention is arbitrary and only aims at sanctioning his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

Background information:

On June 17, 2017, at dawn fifteen masked and plain clothes officers from the Central Security Forces stormed out Mr. Tarek Hussein’s house, arrested him and confiscated his laptop and cell phone. During his arrest, Mr. Tarek Hussein requested to see the arrest warrant but was not shown any and was physically and verbally assaulted instead, including upon his arrival at Khanka’s police station.

He was subsequently brought before the Al-Khanka District Prosecution, where he was accused of “joining an illegal organization” and “calling for a protest”.

On June 18, 2017, the Al-Khanka District Prosecution ordered Mr. Tarek Hussein’s release on a 2000 EGP (approx. 99 euros) bail, which has been duly paid. However, as of publication of this appeal the latter had not been released yet and is still held at Khanka’s police station.

In addition, allegations of ill-treatment including physical and verbal assault were reported while in detention. It has been reported that Mr. Tarek Hussein is being detained in poor conditions which include sharing an overcrowded cell with eighty co-detainees, and being denied food and changing clothes for two consecutive days. Mr. Hussein’s relatives, who have been in contact with the prison’s authorities, were told that “he deserves to die”.

Mr. Tarek Hussein’s arrest and arbitrary detention occur amidst protest over Tiran and Sanafir islands’ transfer to Saudi Arabia, which he has been vocally opposing [2].

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

· Immediately disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Tarek Hussein and allow him to access his lawyer and family;

· Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Tarek Hussein as well as all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Egypt;

· Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Tarek Hussein as well as against all human rights defenders in Egypt;

· 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;

· 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. Ms. Wafaa Bassim, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Email: mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
· Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, 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.

***

Paris-Geneva, July 7, 2017

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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[1] Founded in 2009, ECESR is an Egyptian NGO working through litigation, research, data providing and campaigning to patronize and protect economic and social rights and expand their domain.
[2] In that context, on June 15-16, 2017, at least 121 opposition activists were arrested, including Mohammad Abdelrahman (known as Nouby). At least eleven activists were to be released on June 18, 2017.

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