> Case EGY 270303.2
> Follow-up of Case EGY 270303
> Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment / Torture / Freedom of expression
> Geneva, April 17th, 2003
> The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information
> regarding the following situation in Egypt.
> New information
> The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the
> Egyptian Organisation of Human Rights (EOHR), a member of the OMCT
> network, of the violent repression of anti-war demonstrators in
> Cairo, as well as the arrest of many demonstrators and the ill-
> treatment and torture of several of their number.
> According to the information received, on April 12th, 2003, the
> journalists' syndicate held a peaceful assembly demonstrating against
> the war in Iraq and Israeli action against Palestinians. Security
> forces reportedly arrested the following demonstrators: Mohammed
> Hassan Hassan, Omar Abdel Latif, Waleed Abd El Razek, and Wael
> Tawfeek. Ramez Gehad Fathi Abdel Aziz was arrested at five o'clock pm
> while at the El Horaya Café in Bab El Louk, Cairo attending to his
> duties as editor for the newspaper International News. Mr. Aziz was
> reportedly arrested because he was in the same place as
> demonstrators. Journalist Ibrahim El Sahari was reportedly arrested
> in his home. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Omar Abdel Latif was
> released April 15th, 2003, after suffering beatings and psychological
> torture including threats to his family. OMCT has received
> unconfirmed reports that some of these individuals have been
> interrogated, ill-treated, and tortured, including beatings, electric
> shocks, suspension and threats toward the individuals and their
> families.
> OMCT is in particular gravely concerned for the physical and
> psychological integrity of Mohammed Hassan Hassan, Omar Abdel Latif,
> Waleed Abd El Razek, Wael Tawfeek, and Ramez Gehad Fathi Abdel Aziz,
> due to the allegations that demonstrators have been subjected to ill-
> treatment and/or torture during detention. OMCT calls for the
> immediate release of all persons being detained as a result of the
> demonstrations, unless there are valid legal charges against them,
> which are in line with international law, and for their procedural
> rights to be guaranteed at all times. OMCT calls on the authorities
> to guarantee the detainees' procedural rights at all times and to
> guarantee that they be given fair trials. OMCT calls upon the
> Egyptian Government to launch prompt and impartial investigations
> into all allegations of ill-treatment or torture, in order to bring
> the perpetrators of these acts to justice. OMCT urges the authorities
> to ensure that all injured persons are provided with adequate
> reparation, including medical assistance.
> Brief reminder of the situation
> According to the information received, the Egyptian authorities have
> been using excessive force to repress anti-war demonstrations since
> the outset of the conflict in Iraq. They have reportedly arrested
> tens of demonstrators and there are serious allegations that they
> have subjected a number of these detainees to ill-treatment and
> torture.
> Demonstrations broke out in Cairo as the war in Iraq began on March
> 20th, 2003. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir
> Square in downtown Cairo and were met with violent repression by the
> police. It is reported that the police use disproportionate force in
> order to keep the demonstrators back from the American and British
> embassies, causing injuries to many demonstrators. The police also
> reportedly began arresting large numbers of people during protests
> held over subsequent days. According to the information received,
> protests broke out in Al-Azhar Mosque, Talaat Harb Square, Ramses
> Street, and the State Broadcasting Corporation on March 21st, 2003.
> On March 21st, the police began to beat demonstrators who were
> pushing against a barrier on Talaat Harb Street. Police reportedly
> fired water cannons into the crowd, beat demonstrators with clubs and
> made many arrests. According to the information received, the police
> also occupied the Egyptian Bar Association for almost six hours, and
> arrested more than 15 lawyers, some of whom were beaten during this
> time. Many of these lawyers had reportedly previously defended anti-
> war demonstrators.
> On April 4th, 2003, anti-war activists were arrested as they were
> taking part in a peaceful demonstration. It is reported that leaders
> and activists from the El Wafd, El
> Tegemoah and El Nasiree political parties went to El Sayida Square in
> Cairo to express their objections to the United States-led war in
> Iraq. Thirty-four of the demonstrates
> were reportedly released, while the other eleven were taken to
> central security headquarters in El Darassa, in order to be presented
> before the state prosecutors in El
> Khalifa.
> According to information received, there has been a large incidence
> of torture within the detention centres where the demonstrators have
> been held. Reports include the use
> of electric shocks, beatings that included the use of sticks and
> clubs, as well as the threat of rape towards the women, giving rise
> to grave concerns that the detainees in
> question here are being or risk being subjected to such treatment.
> For more information concerning the identities of these detainees,
> please see the two previous appeals
> concerning this case.
> Action requested:
> Please write to the authorities in Egypt urging them to:
> i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and
> psychological integrity of the aforementioned persons ;
> ii. order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal
> charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and
> competent tribunal and guarantee
> their procedural rights at all times;
> iii. intervene with the appropriate authorities in order to secure
> that the adequate medical assistance is provided as a matter of
> urgency to the prisoner(s);
> iv. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the
> circumstances of these events, notably the allegations of torture, in
> order to identify those responsible, bring
> them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as
> provided by law;
> v. put an immediate end to the persecution and harassment of anti-war
> demonstrators;
> vi. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental
> freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international
> human rights standards.
> Addresses:
> ˇ H.E. President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, Abedine Palace, Cairo,
> Egypt, Email: Webmaster@presidency.gov.eg
> ˇ H.E. Faruq Sayf al-Nasr, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice,
> Midan Lazoghly, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: +202 795 8103, E-mail:
> mojeb@idsc.gov.eg
> ˇ H.E. General Habib Ibrahim El Adly, Minister of the Interior, Al -
> Sheik Rihan Street, Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: + 202 579 2031, e-
> mail: moi@idsc.gov
> Please also write to the embassies of Egypt in your respective
> country.
> Geneva, April 17th, 2003
> Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this
> appeal in your reply.
> Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
> World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
> Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
> 8 rue du Vieux-Billard
> Case postale 21
> CH-1211 Geneve 8
> Suisse/Switzerland
> Tel. : 0041 22 809 49 39
> Fax : 0041 22 809 49 29
> E-mail : omct@omct.org
> http://www.omct.org