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ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT:
PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE ON HUNGER STRIKE

Update info:
5 Sep 2018
Country:
ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
Subject:
Hanan Badr el-Din
Gender m/f: f
Period:
18 Sep 2018
Distribution date:
5 Sep 2018
UA No:
129/2017

Human rights defender Hanan Badr el-Din has started a hunger strike over a court decision on 5 August to renew her detention for 45 more days. Hanan Badr el-Din, who is a prisoner of conscience, has been in pre-trial detention since 6 May 2017.

On 5 August, human rights defender Hanan Badr el-Din started a hunger strike following the renewal of her detention by a judge for 45 more days. Hanan Badr el-Din, who has been in pre-trial detention since 6 May 2017 on fabricated charges of “membership in a banned group”, is protesting her prolonged detention without trial and being denied access to adequate health care by prison officials.

Hanan Badr el-Din suffers from Familial Mediterranean Fever, a genetic disorder that causes fever and painful inflammation in the abdomen, lungs and joints. She continues to be prevented from accessing the health care she needs, as prison officials only occasionally allow her family to bring her the medications prescribed by her doctor.

A judge has been renewing Hanan Badr el-Din’s detention approximately every 45 days. On the next renewal hearing on 19 September, a judge will decide either to release her or renew her detention for another 45 days.

Hanan Badr el-Din is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Hanan Badr el-Din is a co-founder of the Families of the Forcibly Disappeared Association. Hanan’s interest in enforced disappearances began after her husband, Khalid Ezz el-Din, disappeared on 27 July 2013 during a protest against the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi by the military on 3 July that year. According to her, she last saw him wounded in a field clinic on television. However, when she went there, she was unable to find him. Further inquiries regarding his whereabouts in police stations, prisons, hospitals and morgues yielded no results. During her search, Hanan met other families of disappeared looking for their family members.

On 6 May 2017, Hanan was visiting a victim of enforced disappearance who had reappeared in Qanatar prison to ask him about her husband when she was arrested by prison security. They confiscated her belongings, which included a handwritten piece of paper with information about her husband, and accused her of trying to smuggle contraband into the prison.

According to her lawyer, prison security detained her in the prison from 2pm to 5am, during which time National Security Agency (NSA) officers interrogated her. The next day, they transferred her first to Qanatar police station, then to the South Banha prosecution office, where the prosecutor ordered her detention while the NSA conducted its investigation. The NSA concluded that Hanan was a member of female cells belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. The prosecutor ordered her detention for 15 days to investigate her for “membership in a banned group” and then renewed it until a court started renewing her detention for 45 days at a time.

The Families of the Forcibly Disappeared Association is a group that emerged in early 2014 in response to the proliferation of enforced disappearances as a tool by Egyptian security forces. The group aims to ascertain the fate and whereabouts of disappeared family members. Initially, the group focused on looking in police stations, prisons, hospitals and morgues. In mid-2015 the group began to take a more active role in establishing the fate of family members. It launched a public campaign to call on the government to disclose the fate of the family members by organizing press conferences, engaging with media and conducting public rallies. These actions attracted even more families of the disappeared and united their efforts in their search for their disappeared relatives.

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.

Egyptian authorities regularly deny that the practice of enforced disappearances exists. In June 2017, Alaa Abed, head of the Human Rights Committee in the Egyptian parliament, stated that “enforced disappearances do not exist, and is instead a term coined by the Muslim Brotherhood and the fifth column”. Former Egyptian Minister of Interior Magdy Abd el-Ghaffar said in March 2016: “There are no enforced disappearances in Egypt, and the security forces operate within the legal framework.” Egyptian human rights groups have challenged the Interior Ministry’s denials with hundreds of documented cases of enforced disappearance.

Further information on UA: 129/17 Index: MDE 12/8914/2018 Issue Date: 7 August 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in Arabic, English, or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to release Hanan Badr el-Din immediately and unconditionally and to drop all charges against her;
  • Calling on them to ensure that Hanan Badr el-Din has adequate and regular access to qualified health professionals providing health care, including access to prescribed medication, in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 TO:
Public Prosecutor
Nabil Sadek
Office of the Public Prosecutor, Dar al-Qada al-Ali, Down Town
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2577 4716
Salutation: Dear Counsellor

Minister of Interior
Mahmoud Tawfiq
Ministry of the Interior
25 El Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2794 5529
Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg or E.HumanRightsSector@moi.gov.eg
Twitter: @moiegy
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ahmed Ihab Gamal-Eldin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche el-Nile, Cairo, Egypt.
Fax: +202 2574 9713
Email: contact.us@mfa.gov.eg
Twitter: @MfaEgypt

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 129/17. Further information: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE12/7823/2018/en/