Egypt: Provisional release of Malak al-Kashif

17/07/2019
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 001 / 0319 / OBS 025.1
Release /
Judicial harassment
Egypt
July 17, 2019

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the release of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif, a LGBT+ human rights defender, who was detained since March 6, 2019 for calling for peaceful protests to denounce how the Ramses Station Accident [1] was handled by the authorities.

According to the information received, on July 15, 2019, the State Security Prosecution ordered the provisional release of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif pending further investigation. Ms. Al-Kashif was effectively released on July 16. At the time of publication of this appeal, no information were available on the conditions of her release.

The Observatory recalls that Ms. Malak Al-Kashif was held in solitary confinement in an all-male facility since her arrest on March 6, 2019 (see background information).

The Observatory welcomes the release of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif but recalls that she should never have been imprisoned, as her detention was arbitrary and merely aiming at preventing her from carrying out legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory urges the authorities of Egypt to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her and all human rights defenders in the country. 

Background information:

On March 6, 2019, at dawn, members of the National Security forces arrested Ms. Malak Al-Kashif from her home in Giza. She was held for three days in incommunicado detention, until her whereabouts were finally revealed on March 10, 2019. It was then revealed that following more than 24 hours of detention in an unknown location, on March 7, 2019, Ms. Malak Al-Kashif appeared before the National Security Prosecution, where she was charged with “aiding a terrorist organisation” under Article 12 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015 and “misusing social media to commit a crime punishable by law” under Article 27 of the Electronic Crimes Prevention Act of 2018.

On March 7, 2019, the Prosecution ordered that Ms. Malak Al-Kashif be remanded in pre-trial detention, which she spent in solitary confinement at Al-Haram police station in Giza. On March 19, the Prosecution extended her pretrial detention for another 15 days, which she spent in solitary confinement in the El-Zeraa section of Tora Prison. Her pre-trial detention was subsequently renewed on April 2, April 16, May 4, May 19, May 30, June 18, and lastly on July 3, 2019.

The Observatory is particularly concerned by the fact that on March 10, 2019, Ms. Malak Al-Kashif was subjected to forced anal examination, which amounts to a form of torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment [2]. Moreover, according to the same information a police officer sexually harassed her on that same day.
 
Ms. Malak Al-Kashif’s arrest was reportedly related to her calls expressed on her personal Facebook for peaceful protests in solidarity with the victims of the Ramses Station Accident and their families. In particular, she has been asking for those responsible of the accident to be held accountable.
 
Actions requested:
 
Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:
 
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Malak Al-Kashif, and all human rights defenders in Egypt;
 
ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Malak Al-Kashif and all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals; 

iii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above mentioned allegations of torture with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

iv. 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
 
v. 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. Mustafa Kemal Madbouly Mohamed. Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg 
• Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mahmoud Tawfik, Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103
• Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
• Head of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Mr. Alaa Abed, Email: humanrightscomplaints@parliament.gov.eg
• Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council for Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
• H.E. Mr. Alaa Youssef, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@bluewin.ch
• Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Egypt in your respective countries.

***
Geneva-Paris, July 17, 2019

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 the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH 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 OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] During this accident, at least 25 people were killed and 47 injured in a train crash at Cairo’s main station.
[2] See UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, UN Document A/HRC/31/57, January 5, 2016.

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