CAIRO: The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and Amnesty International have condemned the “disappearance” and “arbitrary detention” of an increasing number of people who have been tortured by authorities for being suspects in violent political crimes.
According to an EIPR report released on Friday, detainees in the military prison Al-Azouly in Ismailia have been detained for a period of time that could be considered “arbitrary detention,” which in some cases can be up to four months.
The EIPR collected testimonies from relatives of the detainees, from those previously detained, and from members of the Freedom for the Brave initiative. They reported that people are being kidnapped from their homes or work by armed men with covered faces in civilian clothes. Detainees’ homes are then searched without warrants, and laptops and computers are seized.
Former detainees told Amnesty that Al-Azouly prison has up to 400 detainees who do not have any charges against them and who have not been referred to court.
Lawyers and activists told Amnesty that such “forced disappearances” have increased since November 2013, and includes torture and the extraction of confessions under duress.
Ayda Seif al-Dawla, a member of the Nadeem Center told The Cairo Post Sunday that one detainee, Amr Rabei, was called a “fugitive” by authorities but appeared at his trial the next day, which she said proves “he was detained by authorities.”
Rabei is a student at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University who was taken from Ramses on March 12, 2014, by people wearing civilian clothes, she said. When people tried to stop them, they were threatened with guns, Al-Shorouk reported on March 21, 2014.
Dawla said the organization issued a complaint to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on Wednesday that was signed by 150 Egyptians including public figures demanding the release of the detainees. The NCHR issued a complaint to Attorney General Hisham Barakat, who has not yet replied.
Dawla and activist Laila Soueif have launched a hunger strike in solidarity with the detainees, Al Jazeera reporter Abdallah al-Shamy and the son of a preacher, Salah Sultan, who is an Egyptian American citizen, who are on a hunger strike.