Egypt: Researcher forcibly disappeared
Ibrahim Ezz El-Din © Private
On 11 June 2019, security forces arrested housing rights researcher Ibrahim Ezz El-Din from a street near his house in Moqattam, Cairo. Since his arrest, the authorities have continued to deny that he is in their custody and his family have not been informed of his fate or whereabouts.
Plainclothes security forces arrested Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, a housing rights researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom. He was taken from the street in the area where he lives in Moqattam, Cairo, and has been forcibly disappeared since then. Following his arrest, his family and lawyers have enquired about him at the Moqattam police station, but the authorities denied that he is in their custody. The family and lawyers also sent a telegram (a postal message) to the Public Prosecutor and filed a complaint regarding his disappearance.
Enforced disappearance occurs when there is a deprivation of liberty, when that deprivation of liberty is carried out by state officials and when the deprivation of liberty is followed by the authorities’ refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or the fate or whereabouts of the individual in question.
Please send a fax or letter to the Public Prosecutor.
- Start with Dear Counsellor and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
- Urge him to reveal the whereabouts of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din immediately and ensure that he has access to his lawyers and family.
- Seek guarantees that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment throughout his detention. * Call on him to bring all those responsible for his disappearance to justice.
- Ask him to ensure that Ezz El-Din is released, unless he is promptly charged with an internationally recognizable crime.
Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 011 202 2577 4716
Salutation: Dear Counsellor
His Excellency Ahmed Mahmoud A. Abu Zeid
Ambassador for the Arab Republic of Egypt
150 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1100
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P1
Phone: 613 368 4911
Ibrahim is a researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), where he focuses on the right to housing. He has been investigating Egypt’s record of ensuring that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing, documenting forced evictions and Egypt’s urban planning policies.
He is the fifth person affiliated with ECRF to have been arrested since 2016. His arrest follows the recent detention of labour rights lawyer Haytham Mohamdeen, who works at ECRF and who has been in pre-trial detention since 13 May 2019 in an unfounded case on charges of “aiding a terrorist group”. In May 2018, Egyptian security forces had arrested Amal Fathy, a human rights defender and wife of the Executive director of ECRF and former Amnesty International Researcher Mohamed Lotfy, over a video where she criticized the authorities’ failure to address rampant sexual harassment, before releasing her in December 2018. They had also previously arrested Minorities Programme Director Mina Thabet and board head Ahmed Abdallah back in 2016, before releasing them both without charges.
Ibrahim’s arrest comes amid a human rights crisis and crackdown on Egypt’s civil society that has led to the arrest of hundreds over their legitimate work or peaceful expression or assembly. The crackdown has affected journalists, football fans, critics, politicians and staff of civil society organizations. Many of those arrested have been apprehended and subjected to enforced disappearances, before being charged with unfounded “terrorism” charges relating to their legitimate work, and then being held in pre-trial detention for months or years, without ever being referred to trial.
Amnesty International has extensively documented Egyptian security forces’ use of enforced disappearances as a tool against political activists and protesters, including students and children in Egypt (see https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde12/4368/2016/en/). Hundreds of people forcibly disappeared were arbitrarily arrested and held incommunicado in secret detention with no access to their lawyers or families and no external judicial oversight. This pattern of abuse became particularly evident after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Major-General Magdy Abd el-Ghaffar as Minister of Interior in March 2015. ECRF is one of the main Egyptian NGOs that has been working extensively on the issue of enforced disappearances.
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