Five People Per Day Are Victims Of Enforced Disappearance In Egypt

The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms ECRF, a non governmental rights group, released a report on enforced disappearance covering the period from the beginning of January 2016 to the end of June. The Egyptian rights group said that it documented 1000 enforced disappearances cases in the first half of 2016, at a rate of 5 cases per day, as reported by Al-Khlaeejonline.

However, a member in the National Council for Human Rights NCHR (governmental) was skeptic about these numbers and he pointed to documenting only 321 cases from the forcibly disappeared relatives, including 261 cases out of the 321 cases were arrested, as NCHR claimed.

Enforced disappearance is defined according to Amnesty International as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of freedom by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

The (ECRF) has reported, “1000 cases of enforced disappearance of civilians by the security forces in the first half of this current year,” according to Anadolu Agency. It pointed that,”232 citizens were subjected to enforced disappearance in January, 204 citizens in February, 184 citizens disappeared in March, 111 citizens disappeared in April, 201 in May, and 69 citizens disappeared in June, compared to 1873 cases of enforced disappearances in the whole year of 2015.”

The local rights group said, “several cases appeared later in custody but after a long period of time and others are killed, most of these accusations are denied by the Ministry of Interior.”

It added that it documented 2811 cases of enforced disappearances by the Egyptian security since July 3, 2013 (the date when Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president, was ousted) till the end of last June.

The ECRF explained that the enforced disappearance of the political activists aims to,”obtain confessions on certain information, or a certain case, or to force their relatives to surrender themselves in case they were wanted by the security forces.”

On the other hand, Salah Salem, a member of the NCHR, said that “he doesn’t recognize any numbers except the ones received by the Council.”

He also added that the council received in 2016 till now 321 enforced disappearance cases from their relatives, adding, “with coordination with the Ministry of Interior, it was found that 261 cases were arrested by the ministry and some cases were released and others are still detained till they are referred to the prosecution.”

Islam said that,”the Ministry of Interior told us that it doesn’t know the destiny of the other cases and it believes that they disappeared for other reasons as illegitimate migration.”

Governments around the world are consistently using enforced disappearances to secure their own power and silence opposition, said Amnesty International, ahead of this year’s International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August.

“Amnesty International campaigns on hundreds of cases of enforced disappearance in all regions of the world.This Day of the Disappeared, our millions of supporters globally will press governments who employ enforced disappearances to stop using this cruel tactic once and for all,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

In Egypt, the Interior Ministry is using enforced disappearance as a policy to wipe out peaceful dissent. Since early 2015, hundreds of Egyptians, including children, have vanished at the hands of the state.

ECRF said on its Facebook page that Egypt’s Public Prosecution has been complicit in these violations and repeatedly failed to bring those responsible to justice. For instance, Aser Mohamed, 14, was forcibly disappeared for 34 days and tortured in January 2016. Meanwhile, Islam Khalil was abducted from his home in May 2015, his fate concealed for 122 days.Both face trial based on “confessions” obtained under torture. If convicted, Khalil could face the death penalty; Aser, up to 15 years in prison.

“The brutal killing of Giulio Regeni shocked the world but has also turned the spotlight on the method of enforced disappearances practiced systematically in Egypt today,”said the ECRF