Egypt: Reappearance and arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din

27/11/2019
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 002 / 0619 / OBS 050.1
Enforced disappearance /
Arbitrary detention /
Torture /
Judicial harassment
Egypt
November 27, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, 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 reappearance and arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, researcher on the right to housing at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a human rights law firm based in Cairo operating in several governorates.

According to the information received, on November 26, 2019, Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din at last reappeared at State security prosecution after 167 days of enforced disappearance since his arrest at his home in Mokkatam, Cairo, on June 11, 2019 (see background information).

In the presence of Mr. Ezz El-Din’s lawyers, the Prosecutor investigated him on accusations of “contributing to the achievement of the objectives of a terrorist group” and “publication of false information undermining national security”, in Case 488 of 2019 State security prosecution [1].

Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, who appeared weak and having lost much weight, told the Prosecutor that he was tortured during his detention to extract information about his relationship to ECRF, and about ECRF’s work, as well as kept in inhumane and degrading conditions of detention, at several security agencies locations.

Awaiting a decision from the Prosecutor about his detention, it is expected he will be given 15 days pre-trial detention. The location of his future detention remained unknown at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the enforced disappearance, acts of torture and arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, which seem to come as a result of his criticism of the policies of the government towards shanty urban areas and slums [2]. The Observatory also recalls that this is not the first time that ECRF and its members are subjected to harassment [3].

The Observatory calls on the Egyptian authorities to guarantee in all circumstances Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din’s physical integrity and psychological well-being, to release him immediately and unconditionally and to immediately and unconditionally end any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all the human rights defenders in Egypt.

Background information:

On June 11, 2019, Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din was arrested on his way home from ECRF office in Cairo’s Mokattam area. However, despite requests from his mother and ECRF lawyers, the Mokattam police station consistently denied detaining him. Despite communications from Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din’s mother and ECRF to the Attorney General, no information on the whereabouts of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din was available until he reappeared at State security prosecution on November 26, 2019.

Actions requested:  
 
Please write to the authorities in Egypt, urging them to:
 
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din as well as of all human rights defenders in Egypt;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing him for his human rights activities;
 
iii. Guarantee the unhindered access of Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din to medical assistance, a lawyer of his choice and his family members;
 
iv. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

v. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, as well as of all human rights defenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

vi. Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;
 
vii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international 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 missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country. 
 
***
Geneva-Paris, November 27, 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 intervene 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 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] The Case 488 of 2019 State security prosecution also includes Ms. Esraa Abdel Fattah, a journalist, political activist and founder of the “Free Egyptian Women Group” for women’s political empowerment, and human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry, among others. For more information see Observatory Urgent Appeals EGY 006 / 1019 / OBS 079 and EGY 003 / 0919 / OBS 074, published on published on October 15, 2019 and September 23, 2019.
[2] In particular he criticised the Maspero Triangle development project which led to the demolition of 75% of the Maspero triangle slums in Cairo and of the mass displacement of the inhabitants of Cairo’s Al-Warraq Island as a result of another development project.
[3] See in particular Observatory Urgent Appeals EGY 004 / 0917 / OBS 105 and EGY 002 / 0518 / OBS 059.9, published on on September 27, 2017 and January 11, 2019.

Read more
appelobs