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ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT:
RESEARCHER FORCIBLY DISAPPEARED

Update info:
1 Aug 2019
Country:
ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
Subject:
Ibrahim Ezz El-Din (He/him)
Period:
6 Sep 2019
Distribution date:
1 Aug 2019
UA No:
104/2019

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.

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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.

PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Arabic or English
You can also write in your own language.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 6 September 2019
Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.

NAME AND PROFFERED PRONOUN: Ibrahim Ezz El-Din (He/him)

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WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Madinat al-Rehab
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2577 4716

Dear Counsellor,

On the night of 11 June 2019, plainclothes Egyptian security forces arrested Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, a housing rights researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom. He was taken from the street in the area where he lives in Moqattam, Cairo, and has been forcibly disappeared since then. Following his arrest, his family and lawyers have enquired about him at the Moqattam police station, but the authorities denied that he is in their custody. The family and lawyers also sent a telegram (a postal message) to the Public Prosecutor, and filed a complaint regarding his disappearance.

Enforced disappearance occurs when there is a deprivation of liberty, when that deprivation of liberty is carried out by state officials and when the deprivation of liberty is followed by the authorities’ refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or the fate or whereabouts of the individual in question.

I urge you to reveal the whereabouts of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din immediately and ensure that he has access to his lawyers and family and that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment. I also urge you to bring all those responsible for his disappearance to justice, and to ensure that he is released, unless charged with an internationally recognizable crime.

Yours sincerely,