Egypt: Release of Mr. Tarek Hussein

02/08/2017
Urgent Appeal

New information
EGY 001 / 0617 / OBS 066.3

Release
Egypt
August 1, 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 release 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 27, 2017, Mr. Tarek Hussein was released from El-Khanqa Police Station, following the duly payment of a 2,000 EGP (approx. 99 euros) bail, which had been issued by the "Khanqa" prosecution on June 18, 2017, although not implemented until now (see background information).

Mr. Tarek Hussein was arbitrarily arrested on June 17, 2017, under accusations of “joining an illegal organization” and “calling for a protest” (see background information). The police held Mr. Tarek Hussein incommunicado, preventing his family and lawyers to visit him.

Following his enforced disappearance while in detention, Mr. Tarek Hussein’s family and lawyers as well as the Lawyers’ Syndicate filed three successive complaints regarding the various violations suffered by Mr. Tarek Hussein in detention [2] .

In an attempt to justify his detention, the authorities claimed that at least 13 verdicts had been issued all over the country against an individual named "Tarek Hussein", and in one of the cases, police claimed he was sentenced for “stealing electricity in 1993”, the year when the human rights defender was born. During the nearly 40 days of illegal detention, his lawyers submitted documentation and evidence with different authorities and police stations to prove that he was not the "Tarek Hussein" in question.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Mr. Tarek Hussein, but expresses its concerns over the judicial harassment ongoing against him and other human rights defenders in Egypt. Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon Egyptian authorities to put an end to all kind of harassment against human rights defenders, as it only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory calls upon the Egyptian authorities to investigate all human rights violations suffered by Mr. Tarek Hussein in detention.

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 Al-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 bail, which has been paid. However, he remained detained.

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 denied Mr. Tarek Hussein’s presence within their premises.

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.

On July 5, 2017 the Lawyers’ Syndicate filed a complaint against the Minister of Interior regarding the various violations of Mr. Tarek Hussein’s rights.

On July 6, 2017, Mr. Tarek Hussein’s family submitted a complaint before the National Council for Human Rights. No formal, written response to any of the complaints submitted by the family or the Syndicate have been received to date from the Interior Ministry. At least one newspaper article quoted an anonymous Ministry of Interior source stating that Mr. Tarek Hussein would be held until authorities were able to fully confirm that he was not implicated in any other cases.

On July 9, 2017, authorities reported that Mr. Tarek Hussein was held at Giza Central Prison. Following the announcement, Mr. Tarek Hussein’s family went to Giza Central Prison to see him but the prison’s administration denied his family a visit and did not provide his lawyer or family any reason for his detention. In addition, they were given Mr. Tarek Hussein’s clothes, torn apart.

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

Mr. Tarek Hussein’s arrest and arbitrary detention occurred amidst protest over Tiran and Sanafir islands’ transfer to Saudi Arabia, which he has been vocally opposing [3] .

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally 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;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Tarek Hussein, as well as 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, August 1, 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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