Egypt: Women Human Rights Defender denied vital medication
Download PDF of most recent update to UA 129/17 Egypt
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The hearing on Hanan's case happened on 5 February and her detention was extended. The next hearing has been provisionally set to 22 March. Her health continues to deteriorate and she is still not being provided adequate medical treatment. Take urgent action below!
Women Human rights defender Hanan Badr el-Din, currently in prison on spurious charges for speaking out against enforced disappearances in Egypt, is being denied necessary health care. Hanan Badr el-Din suffers from a genetic disorder and her health is deteriorating rapidly. She is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately.
Hanan suffers from Familial Mediterranean Fever (a genetic disorder that causes fever and painful inflammation in the abdomen, lungs and joints) and being denied necessary health care may amount to torture or other ill-treatment. Her health is deteriorating rapidly and risks kidney failure as a result of the denial of necessary health care.
She had been receiving her medication regularly through her family until recent weeks. However, recently, prison authorities told Hanan's family that they will only accept prescriptions or diagnosis from public hospitals. Hanan’s family told Amnesty International that public hospitals refuse to provide diagnosis to prisoners, and prison authorities have refused to move Hanan to an outside hospital.
This has effectively resulted in Hanan being denied necessary health care, specifically medication that she needs. As a result, her condition has worsened considerably over the past two weeks. According to her family, she suffers from pain in her wrists to the extent that she is unable to write. She also suffers from fever every 3-4 days and has lost considerable weight. Prison authorities only allow her to visit the prison hospital, which is poorly equipped, understaffed and not trained to respond to Hanan’s specific health needs. Hanan Badr el-Din shares a cell with 19 other inmates, and one single bed is shared between two women. They lack adequate access to clean water for drinking and cleaning.
A judge has been renewing Hanan Badr el-Din’s detention approximately every 45 days. On the next renewal hearing on 5 February, a judge will decide either to release her or renew her detention for another 45 days. Hanan Badr el-Din is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Women human rights defenders in Egypt are at often under attack because their activism is seen to threaten traditional power structures and gender roles.
Hanan Badr el-Din is a human rights defender and co-founder of the Families of the Forcibly Disappeared Association. Hanan Badr el-Din began advocating for justice for victims of enforced disappearance and their families, after the disappearance of her husband, Khalid Ezz el-Din, on 27 July 2013 during a protest against the military coup. Hanan Badr el-Din last saw her husband wounded in a field clinic on television. However, when she went there, she was unable to find him. Further inquiries regarding his whereabouts in police stations, prisons, hospitals, and morgues yielded no results. During her search, Hanan Badr el-Din came into contact with other families of disappeared looking for their family members.
On 20 May 2017, Hanan Badr el-Din was visiting a victim of enforced disappearance that had resurfaced in Qanatar prison, hoping he had news about her husband, when prison security officials arrested her. They confiscated her belongings, which included a handwritten piece of paper with information about her husband, and accused her of trying to smuggle contraband into the prison. According to her lawyer, prison security officers detained her from 2 pm to 5 am, wshere national security agency (NSA) officers interrogated her. The next day, they transferred her to the Qanatar police station, then to South Banha prosecution, where the prosecutor ordered her detention while waiting for NSA Investigations. The NSA investigations claimed that Hanan Badr el-Din is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood female cells. The prosecutor ordered her detention for 15 days to investigate her for smuggling contraband and belonging to a banned group. The prosecutor renewed the detention order on 20 May and then on 3 June for 15 more days each time. The Families of the Forcibly Disappeared Association is a group that emerged in early 2014 in response to the proliferation of enforced disappearances committed by Egyptian security forces. The group started by trying to find out about the fates of their family members by searching in police stations, prisons, hospitals, and morgues. By mid-2015, the group began to take a more active role in publically campaigning for the government to respect human rights and fulfil its obligations, by organizing press conferences, public rallies and engaging with the media. These actions attracted even more families of disappeared persons and united them in their efforts to search for their relatives and fight for justice.
Amnesty International has extensively documented enforced disappearances as a tool commonly used by security forces in Egypt against political activists and protesters, including students and children. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and subjected to enforced disappearance by state agents. Those detained in this way did not have access to their lawyers or families and were held incommunicado outside judicial oversight. Local NGOs allege that an average of three to four people are abducted and subjected to enforced disappearance each day. This pattern of abuse has become particularly evident since March 2015 when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Major-General Magdy Abd el-Ghaffar as Minister of Interior.
Egyptian authorities regularly deny the practise of enforced disappearances. Alaa Abed, head of the Human Rights Committee in the Egyptian parliament has repeatedly stated that “enforced disappearances do not exist, and is instead a term coined by the Muslim Brotherhood and the fifth column.” Egyptian Minister of Interior also said “There is no enforced disappearance in Egypt, and the security forces operate within the legal framework” in March 2016. Egyptian human rights groups have challenged the Interior Ministry’s denials with hundreds of documented cases of enforced disappearance.
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TAKE ACTION ONLINE - Urge Egypt to drop charges against Hanan Badr el-Din (*TIP: personalize your message to demand Hanan gets access to healthcare she needs)
WRITE A LETTER - Tell Egypt to Stop homophobic persecution
SHOW SOLIDARITY - send a solidarity message to Hanan Badr el-Din