Forced Disappearance in Egypt between Denial and Evidence

د. أحمد عبدالستار

Unprecedented rise in Egypt forces disappearances amid wave of brutal repression in an effort to intimidate opponents and wipe out peaceful dissent.

Corrupt dictatorships have been using these methods for centuries. Forced disappearance is used to extract confessions; victims are subjected to extreme methods of illegal torture and cruel threats against family members if they don’t cooperate.

This type of criminal act has no specific reference in law as it should not even take place; it is against all human and international rights and regulations. The Egyptian constitution and laws make no reference or acknowledgement of this procedure.

The constitution should recognise and endorse the right of support and protection of freedom of speech of its nationals, as most other nations and governments around the world do. The international community agreed long ago that this form of oppression and stripping of human rights is unacceptable and a criminal offence.

The United Nations charter on human rights agreed to amendment 7 on 20 December 2006, Rome statute,(IC.C) along with amendment 5, an international agreement for the support of individuals who are subject to ‘Forced disappearance’, and declared it a criminal offence punishable by law. The Egyptian, and international, Human Rights organisations issued reports detailing many victims, and they are increasing in numbers at an alarming rate.

Amnesty international has also issued a report condemning the use of forced disappearance and vowing that there will be no escape, no matter how long the culprits evade justice, from prosecution for this crime.

and Human Rights Watch has issued many accounts of torture and forced disappearances in Egypt.

This was condemned by the European Parliament reports as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for human rights at the United Nations condemning enforced disappearances occurring in Egypt systematically

The victims of this crime are varied ….men, women of all ages including children but the majority are young university students. To this date 11 females cannot be traced in any way. Plus 24 men’s since the 3-7-2013 events

When lawyers, solicitors and human rights actives attempt to defend the falsely accused, they themselves are taken by the authorities by forced disappearance, thus becoming themselves victims.
Since July 2013 over 400 lawyers and human rights actives were arrested, still 134 of them in custody

Forced Disappearance in Egypt between Authority Denial and Witnesses Evidence

Wasted Rights and Unknown Destiny

The international community acknowledges and agrees that any government using these tactics should be held responsible under international law. The Egyptian regime is oppressing its people illegally and abusing its power by crushing anyone who doesn’t conform to its will.

When a victim is taken their family has no way of knowing their fate, only if by chance someone saw them abducted can they be sure they are in custody.

All attempts to locate the victim are fruitless, their pleas and documented requests to officials are thwarted at every turn, never knowing until a fellow prisoner confirms they have seen them. All the security forces, from lowest to the highest ranks, are in collusion with each other.

Egyptian Human rights council were influenced by the Egyptian authorities initially, but now with the escalation and huge weight of evidence, it has begun to document cases.

The Egyptian authorities has acted in the name of security, but in reality it has twisted the constitution to its own ends and given itself powers to stifle any resistance or any political challenge. It justifies murder, torture, forced disappearances, seizure of assets without lawful rights, ruling by fear and repression in the name of stability.

The Egyptian coordination for Human Rights and freedoms has stated that in 2015 over 1840 Egyptian were enforced disappearances and around 1735 victims were subjects to enforced disappearances in 2016, Most of these victims are university students.

Human rights actives and organisations have been Launch campaigns on social media to claim Egyptian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of the disappearance of the individuals forcibly disappeared and release them, one called ‘stop the forced disappearance’ and another called ‘don’t let them go to hell’, (pertaining to the victims), and another initiated by the Egyptian coordination for human rights, ‘life and death’.

These groups were set up by human rights activists fed up with the ‘cover up’ of forced disappearance. The authorities have also reassigned thousands of civil court cases to military trials, many of resulting in death sentences or life imprisonment for minor charges. On top of all this….relatives, parents, wives and husbands are left in mental agony not knowing if their loved ones are even alive, let alone in prison somewhere.

Unprecedented rise in Egypt forced disappearances amid wave of brutal repression in an effort to intimidate opponents and wipe out peaceful dissent.

Still, the fate of dozens of forced disappeared people in Egypt remains unknown along with the refusal of the Egyptian authorities to recognise or determine their fate.

محمد صادقOne notable case is about a lawyer, Mohamed Sadak, also a human rights activist. He was caught and forcibly disappeared from Giza railway station, in front many witnesses. The authorities denied all knowledge of his incarceration and arrest.

After several months he was accused of an offence which was committed when he was actually in custody. Therefore it would have been impossible for him to have been at the crime scene! Another case took place on March 10TH 2016. The police caught Dr Ahmed ShawI Amasha, formally a top veterinarian consultant in Doumiart, a county in Egypt. He was a top defence representative for human rights abuses in Egypt. Until now there has been no admittance of arrest or any indication of his location.

There are myriads of cases with no official confirmation or known whereabouts of people who have simply disappeared ‘without a trace’. We are asking the Egyptian authorities, international human rights and the international community to demand the end of this absence violation of human rights.

Egypt needs to adhere to its real constitution and laws, The Egyptian coordination for rights and freedoms (ECRF) has created an ‘app’ for relatives to report Human Rights Abuses.


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