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Startseite Urgent Actions 2018 10 Egyptian’s arbitrary detention renewed Arbitrarily detained Egyptian on hunger strike
FI 176/18-2
Egypt
Abgeschlossen am 15. März 2019

Arbitrarily detained Egyptian on hunger strike

AI-Index: MDE 12/9757/2019

On 25 January, Islam Khalil and four other prisoners began a hunger strike to protest their arbitrary detention. On 8 January, the Cairo Criminal Court had renewed Islam Khalil’s detention for a further 45 days. Islam Khalil, a victim of enforced disappearance, has been held in pre-trial detention on trumped-up charges since 10 March 2018. Islam Khalil maintains that he is innocent. It is believed that the charges brought against him are in retaliation for his political activism. According to information received by Amnesty International, Islam Khalil is physically and mentally exhausted and requires urgent medical care.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Islam Khalil has been a victim of enforced disappearance twice. On 10 March 2018 his family lost contact with him for three weeks when he was in Aswan. The family inquired with the Aswan police station to see if he was being held there, but officers at the station denied his presence. On 15 March 2018, the family submitted a complaint to the public prosecutor about the incident but received no response. The family also inquired with the prosecution in Hurghada, south east of Cairo, and the Aswan prosecution, both of which denied he was in their custody. On 2 April 2018, the family finally learned that he was at Tora Investigation prison through a person who saw him during a visit. The family said Islam Khalil was interrogated by the Supreme State Security Prosecution on 1 April 2018 without the presence of a lawyer.

According to Islam Khalil’s brother, the prison’s administration prevented him from receiving books and food and denied him family visits for a month. At one point, he was moved to a cell infested with bugs and was deprived of water and adequate food. He was then moved to another cell with detainees who forced him to pray and prevented him from smoking and reading certain books.

In a letter he wrote on 15 August 2018, he says: «We are and will remain on the path of love, calling for justice, freedom and peace. To you, free birds that ignite with hope, sing in our names, and be the sun that protect us. Write about us and be our voice that was deliberately and forcibly silenced».

Islam Khalil has been previously subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in detention, according to his own testimony and information received from his family and lawyer. On 24 May 2015, he was abducted from his home in al-Santa in Al Gharbiyah’s governorate in Egypt by National Security Agency (NSA) officers. That was the first time he was subjected to an enforced disappearance, during which the authorities refused to acknowledge his deprivation of liberty and concealed his fate and whereabouts for 122 days. According to his testimony, it was during this period that he was tortured by NSA officers, who tried to force him to «confess» to crimes he said he did not commit. He was then released on 31 August 2016, 10 days after the prosecution ordered his release on bail. He was charged with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, inciting violence, and attacking security forces.

Arbitrary detention is the practice of detaining people for no legitimate reason or without legal process. The Egyptian authorities launched a new, intensified crackdown on critics in December 2017, ahead of the presidential elections.

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