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UA 104/19
Egypt
Abgeschlossen am 6. September 2019

Researcher forcibly disappeared

AI-Index: MDE 12/0785/2019

On 11 June 2019, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, a housing rights researcher with an Egyptian NGO, was arrested by security forces from a street near his house in Moqattam, Cairo, and forcibly disappeared. Since his arrest, the authorities have continued to deny that he is in their custody and his family have not been informed of his fate or whereabouts.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Ibrahim is a researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), where he focuses on the right to housing. He has been investigating Egypt’s record of ensuring that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing, documenting forced evictions and Egypt’s urban planning policies.

He is the fifth person affiliated with ECRF to have been arrested since 2016. His arrest follows the recent detention of labour rights lawyer Haytham Mohamdeen, who works at ECRF and who has been in pre-trial detention since 13 May 2019 in an unfounded case on charges of «aiding a terrorist group». In May 2018, Egyptian security forces had arrested Amal Fathy, a human rights defender and wife of the Executive director of ECRF and former Amnesty International Researcher Mohamed Lotfy, over a video where she criticized the authorities’ failure to address rampant sexual harassment, before releasing her in December 2018. They had also previously arrested Minorities Programme Director Mina Thabet and board head Ahmed Abdallah back in 2016, before releasing them both without charges.

Ibrahim’s arrest comes amid a human rights crisis and crackdown on Egypt’s civil society that has led to the arrest of hundreds over their legitimate work or peaceful expression or assembly. The crackdown has affected journalists, football fans, critics, politicians and staff of civil society organizations. Many of those arrested have been apprehended and subjected to enforced disappearances, before being charged with unfounded «terrorism» charges relating to their legitimate work, and then being held in pre-trial detention for months or years, without ever being referred to trial.

Amnesty International has extensively documented Egyptian security forces’ use of enforced disappearances as a tool against political activists and protesters, including students and children in Egypt (see https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde12/4368/2016/en/). Hundreds of people forcibly disappeared were arbitrarily arrested and held incommunicado in secret detention with no access to their lawyers or families and no external judicial oversight. This pattern of abuse became particularly evident after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Major-General Magdy Abd el-Ghaffar as Minister of Interior in March 2015. ECRF is one of the main Egyptian NGOs that has been working extensively on the issue of enforced disappearances.

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