Índice AI:  MDE12433116
Referencia:  MDE12433116 -28265
Editor:  Amnistía Internacional
Autor:  Amnistía Internacional
Fecha publicación:  20160713
Tema principal:  EGIPTO
Descriptores:  Desaparición forzada · Tortura y malos tratos · Libertad de expresión · Detención arbitraria · Cargos penales por motivos políticos
Resumen / Descripción:  Cinco años después del levantamiento popular contra el régimen autoritario del presidente Hosni Mubarak, Egipto está atrapado bajo el puño de acero de la represión. Una amplia ofensiva contra la disidencia ha puesto al menos a 34.000 personas – según datos del propio del gobierno - y posiblemente miles más, tras las rejas. Entre ellos se incluyen a cientos de líderes y altos funcionarios de la Hermandad Musulmana, partidarios del depuesto presidente Mohamed Morsi, y numerosos otros críticos y opositores al gobierno. Puesto que las fuerzas armadas derrocaron al presidente Morsi en julio de 2013, decenas de miles de personas han sido detenidas sin juicio o condenados a prisión o a la muerte tras juicios manifiestamente injustos
Grado de seguridad:  Nivel 1
Subtipo de documentos:  Informe temático
Tipo de documento:  Documentación
Idioma:  Inglés
Enlace:  Norte África · Egipto



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© Amnesty International 2016
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Peter Benenson House, 1 Easton Street
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Index:  MDE 12/4331/2016
Original language: English


Five years after an explosion of popular resentment against decades of misrule and repression swept aside the aut
horitarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is caught in a steely grip of repression. A
sweeping crackdown on dissent has put at least 34,000 persons – by the government’s own admission – and possibly 
thousands more, behind bars. They include hundreds of leaders and senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)
, supporters of
President Mohamed Morsi, and numerous other critics and opponents of the government. Since the armed forces ouste
d President Morsi in July 2013, tens of thousands of people have been detained without trial or sentenced to pris
on terms or to death
often grossly unfair trials.  The MB, which had enjoyed wide popular support even while previously banned during 
the Mubarak administration, and which had close links to former President Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party (the 
political wing of the
MB in
Egypt), has again been outlawed and declared a “terrorist” organization by the authorities. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’
s first democratically elected President, has been permanently detained and prevented from receiving family visit
s since his overthrow.
is now held under sentence of death, together with other MB leaders and political activists. Alongside the govern
ment crackdown, Egypt has suffered a rise in violent attacks by armed groups targeting the police, army, judicial
 officials, foreign
nationals and ordinary citizens. In response, the authorities have adopted a draconian new “Counter-
Terrorism” law and taken further measures which have threatened and eroded human rights.
The past 18 months have also seen the emergence of a new pattern of human rights violations against political act
ivists and protesters, including students and children, hundreds of whom have been arbitrarily arrested and detai
ned and subjected to
enforced disappearance by state agents. Those detained in this way did not have access to their lawyers or famili
es and were held incommunicado outside judicial oversight. Local NGOs allege that an average of three to four peo
ple are abducted and
arbitrarily subjected to enforced disappearance each day.  This pattern of abuse has become particularly evident 
since March 2015 when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Major-General Magdy Abd el-Ghaffar as Minister of 
Interior. Before
Interior Minister, Major-General Abd el-Ghaffar held senior positions in the State Security Investigations (SSI),
 the secret police force that became notorious for serious human rights violations under Mubarak, and in the Nati
onal Security Agency
formed to replace the SSI when the authorities bowed to public pressure and in March 2011 announced they were dis
mantling it. Since the appointment of the new minister, the NSA has emerged as the principle state agency engaged
 in suppressing
to the government, committing torture and
other serious human rights violations with impunity. This is an executive summary of the Amnesty International re
port Egypt: ‘Officially, you do not exist’ –
Disappeared and tortured in the name of counter-terrorism (Index: MDE 12/4368/2016). This report is based on more
 than 70 interviews with lawyers, NGO workers, released detainees and family members of victims of torture and en
forced disappearance.
includes 17 detailed testimonies of some of the hundreds of victims of these human rights violations in 2015 and 
2016, mostly men but also boys as young as 14 years old. Amnesty International has communicated its concerns to t
he authorities in
2015 and 2016 regarding the use of enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment by the NSA and Militar
y Intelligence (MI). However, the authorities have repeatedly denied these serious human rights violations and EG
NOT EXIST’  DISAPPEARED AND TORTURED IN THE NAME OF COUNTER-TERORISM                                            3
Amnesty International

accused Amnesty International of spreading false rumours and supporting “terrorist” groups, including the MB. The
 authorities however did not provide factual evidence to corroborate their denials.  Most of the victims of enfor
ced disappearance have
supporters of former President Morsi, whom the
authorities continue to target, but they also include supporters of other political movements including advocates
 perceived to promote a secular state. Some appear to have been detained and subjected to enforced disappearance 
for up to several
months by
security officials solely or mainly because of their family connections. They were being used as leverage against
 relatives targeted by the authorities. For example, when NSA officers detained activist Nour Khalil they also se
ized his father and
brother, apparently to exert pressure on him during his interrogation. The NSA subjected Nour Khalil’s brother, I
slam Khalil, to 122 days of enforced disappearance (NSA officers apparently confused him with another man, called
 Islam Gamal, who
sought for alleged involvement in violent attacks on the security forces). According to Islam Khalil, NSA officer
s forced him to “confess” to fabricated charges that could be used to sentence him to death.  In most cases that 
Amnesty International
documented, NSA officers accompanied by members of the security forces armed with automatic weapons, detained peo
ple after raiding their homes during the hours of darkness, demanding entry or forcing their way into homes. In n
o case did the NSA
officials produce judicial arrest or search warrants, nor did they tell detainees’ families why they were taking 
their relatives or where to. They searched detainees’ homes, seizing computers, books and other personal possessi
ons, and examined
mobile phones to find out who they had been in contact with, what messages they had sent and received and what us
e they had made of social media. They handcuffed and blindfolded those they took away and in some cases threatene
d to beat or arrest
members who protested or demanded to know why they were taking their relatives away and where to. In other cases,
 NSA officers warned families against reporting their relative’s detention to the Public Prosecution or seeking t
o find out where
relative was detained.  Many victims of enforced disappearance were detained in NSA premises, notably the NSA’s L
azoughly office inside the Ministry of Interior Headquarters in downtown Cairo – ironically, only a short distanc
e from Tahrir Square,
focal point of the mass protests that forced President Mubarak from power in 2011. Many were also detained in pol
ice stations on NSA authority but were excluded from their official registers of detainees; some were held in cam
ps of the Central
Forces (CSF) – the riot police – in Cairo and elsewhere on NSA authority. Some detainees suspected of involvement
 in attacks on the armed forces were taken to Military Intelligence detention facilities for interrogation prior 
to trial before
courts. During interrogations, NSA officers questioned detainees about their political opinions, such as their vi
ews on the MB and Mohamed Morsi, as well as their religious beliefs and their involvement in anti-government prot
ests and activities,
their links to others that the authorities were looking for or had already detained.   Victims, including childre
n, and their families told Amnesty International that NSA officers tortured and subjected them to other ill-treat
ment to force them
“confess” to crimes or implicate others. Such “confessions” were then used to justify their continued pre-trial d
etention and as evidence to obtain convictions at trial. In some cases, the NSA videotaped detainees’ “confession
s” and released them
local media broadcasting, apparently to convince both the Egyptian public and the international community that th
e MB and Morsi supporters are engaged in “terrorism” and that the security forces are combating such “terrorism” 
effectively. Such
videotaping of “confessions” may also be used by prosecutors and at trials to undermine detainees’ attempts to re
tract them when they appear before the Public Prosecution Offices and at trial.  Methods of torture reported by v
ictims and witnesses
include electric shocks to the body and sensitive areas, such as the genitals, lips and ears; prolonged suspensio
n by the limbs while handcuffed and naked; and
sexual abuse, including rape; beatings and threats. Some detainees said they were subjected to the “grill” –
rotation on a bar that was inserted between their tied arms and legs and balanced between two chairs. Most of the
se methods of torture are the same or similar to those that the SSI used against detainees during the Mubarak yea
rs. Some detainees
subjected to enforced disappearance for a few days, but others remained missing and were denied all the time cont
act with their families for weeks or months – up to seven months in the most extreme cases known to Amnesty Inter
national. The period
enforced disappearance ended in most cases when the detainee was taken before a prosecutor for questioning. While
                                          4 Amnesty International

incommunicado, most of the time kept handcuffed and blindfolded. The NSA officers warned them that they would be 
hung by their limbs or beaten if they spoke to other detainees or tried to remove the handcuffs and blindfold.  D
etainees’ families
lawyers reported making strenuous yet unsuccessful efforts to locate them during their enforced disappearance. At
 police stations and prisons, authorities denied holding their relatives, and inquiries at offices of the Public 
Prosecution got them
further. Some families sent telegrams addressed to senior authorities, such as the Ministers of Justice and Inter
ior, the Public Prosecutor and the semi-official National Human Rights Council, giving details of their relative’
s arrest and
without receiving any response. Some filed missing-person reports before Public Prosecutors, only to be referred 
to other prosecutors or police stations from which they could not obtain any information. Generally, they ran int
o a brick wall of
disinterest and unwillingness to investigate the whereabouts and fate of their missing relatives, which only heig
htened their distress and sense of powerlessness. Indeed, even when some families learnt through unofficial chann
els – from released
detainees or low ranking police officers they had bribed –
where their relatives were detained, the authorities at these facilities continued to deny the detainee’s presenc
e and prevented families from gaining access to them. According to Egyptian law, the Public Prosecution has respo
nsibility for ensuring
that all arrests and detentions conform to the law and that the rights of those detained, including protection fr
om torture are not violated. In practice, however, former detainees and detainees’ families and lawyers accuse st
ate prosecutors of
complicit in the human rights violations committed by the NSA. In particular, they accuse prosecutors of failing 
to investigate detainees’ allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, even when detainees who appeared before
 them had bruises or
visible injuries they said were caused by
torture. State prosecutors also fail to refer detainees for prompt independent medical examinations to
document their injuries. They also accuse prosecutors of helping to cover up time periods of enforced disappearan
ce, and the torture that accompanied it, by failing to challenge and correct false arrest dates inserted in offic
ial NSA
reports, which provide the basis for bringing criminal charges against detainees and justifying their continued d
etention before trial.  Prosecutors continue to heavily rely on “confessions” that security officials obtain from
 detainees during
enforced disappearance, even when detainees retract them and allege they were coerced through torture. They also 
rely on such confessions when formulating charges and authorizing continued detention pending trial. When prosecu
tors did decline, in a
cases known to Amnesty International, to authorize continued detention and ordered the detainee’s release, the NS
A did not comply but rather subjected the detainee to a further period of enforced disappearance before bringing 
them before a
prosecutor to
face new charges in a separate case using another allegedly coerced “confession”.
One reason for the failure of prosecutors to protect detainees from human rights violations by the NSA is the lac
k of independence of the Public Prosecution Office. Its head, the Public Prosecutor, and all other senior and dis
trict prosecutors
appointed subject to the approval of the President. Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice is empowered to assess t
he performance of Public Prosecutors and discipline them. Police officers may also be appointed to serve as prose
cutors even though
lack qualifications specified in relevant international standards.   Egypt is not party to the International Conv
ention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance but it is a party to the Convention against T
orture and Other
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention Against Torture) and other international human rights tr
eaties which, along with Egypt’s Constitution and national laws, absolutely prohibit the practices detailed in th
e report. For example,
Egyptian Constitution prohibits arrests and detentions without a reasoned judicial order and further prohibits to
rture, while Egypt’s Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) requires the police to refer arrested persons to the Public
 Prosecution within
hours of their arrest after which a prosecutor can authorize further detention for renewable periods of four, 15 
and 45 days, except in cases of people arrested under the new Counter-Terrorism Law, which allows police to hold 
a suspect for 24
before referring them to a prosecutor. The prosecutor can then authorize further detention without charge for up 
to seven days during which the authorities can deny the detainee any contact with their family and lawyer. This f
acilitates enforced
disappearances and directly contravenes Egypt’s Constitution, which gives everyone deprived of their liberty the 
right to immediate contact with their family and a lawyer.  EGYPT: ‘OFFICIALLY, YOU DO NOT EXIST’  DISAPPEARED AN
COUNTER-TERORISM                                                      5 Amnesty International

Despite the mounting evidence of abuse, the Egyptian government continues to deny that its forces commit enforced
 disappearances, torture and other serious human rights violations. Instead of acknowledging and addressing these
 violations, the
prefers to dismiss the evidence as propaganda put out by the MB and its supporters. The government’s denials, how
ever, do not stand up to scrutiny, as the case examples cited in the report illustrate. Given the number, range a
nd diversity of
the broad consistency of their testimonies and of their families’ accounts of their efforts to obtain official ac
knowledgement of detainees’ arrests and learn where they were held, there can be no doubt that enforced disappear
ances are now being
used as
an element of state policy in Egypt, irrespective of the government’s denials. The repeated failure of prosecutor
s to investigate detainees’ allegations of torture together with their ready acceptance of allegedly coerced “con
fessions” and their
to address the falsification of arrest dates by NSA officers to conceal the duration of detention indicates too t
hat Egypt’s judicial authorities are complicit in these serious human rights violations.  Enforced disappearances
, wherever they
facilitate torture and other serious violations against detainees. In Egypt, they are used to enable the NSA to t
orture detainees with impunity and extract “confessions” and other information that can be used to convict them o
r others under the
Code, Counter-Terrorism Law or on other criminal charges, such as participating in anti-government protests. Enfo
rced disappearances and torture are also used to intimidate government critics and opponents and to deter dissent
. They form part of a
system of repression that allows NSA officers and other security officials to commit serious human rights violati
ons with impunity and includes a criminal judicial system that readily accepts and relies on torture-tainted “con
fessions” to convict
defendants in trials that fail to respect the right to due process and often result in long prison terms or death
 sentences. Faced with the government’s denials, Egyptian human rights groups and activists have courageously sou
ght to expose,
document and
campaign against enforced disappearances and other violations against the victims and their families. In August 2
015, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a group formed a year earlier, launched a “stop enfo
rced disappearance”
campaign to mobilize Egyptian public opinion, draw international attention to the violations and advocate on beha
lf of victims and their right to effective remedy, including justice. The authorities subsequently arrested and d
etained the head of
ECRF and some of its staff. By April 2016, Egyptian human rights groups had named more than 1,000 victims of disa
ppearance across the country, excluding North Sinai Governorate in the north-east of the country, which is effect
ively off-limits to
rights groups. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has also expressed concern.
 In its 2015 report, WGEID said that in the 12 months up to May 2015 it had communicated 79 cases to the Egyptian
 government that
illustrated “a recent pattern of short-term disappearances” and that it had received a response from the Egyptian
 government on only six of the cases, all of which the government denied were cases of enforced disappearance. Gi
ven this cycle of
widespread abuse and government denial, the abduction and murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in ear
ly 2016 raised suspicion that he may have been a victim of enforced disappearance who died under torture while de
tained by Egyptian
agents. His death and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it caused an international outcry and demands for 
a thorough investigation to reveal the truth, identify the perpetrators and deliver justice – demands that have y
et to be met. For
part, the Egyptian authorities have continued to deny that any state agents were responsible or involved in Giuli
o Regeni’s killing while offering changing, contradictory and seemingly implausible accounts that have been met w
ith wide scepticism
contributed to a serious diplomatic rift between Italy and Egypt.  In March 2016, the European Parliament condemn
ed Giulio Regeni’s murder and expressed concern that it occurred against a background of torture, deaths in custo
dy and enforced
disappearances in Egypt. Italy apart, however, most European and other governments that greeted the popular upris
ing of 2011 with approval have appeared overly reluctant to criticize the deteriorating human rights conditions i
n Egypt. With Egypt
seen as
a key partner in combating “terrorism,” the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as Rus
sia and China have all received President al-Sisi on official visits in the past two years. Some governments have
 also provided
support to the Egyptian government, despite its deteriorating human rights record. They include 12 member states 
of the EU and the United States of America that have transferred to Egypt security and police equipment of the ty
pe used by Egyptian
security forces to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations. EGYPT: ‘OFFICIALLY, YOU DO NOT EXIST’  D
ISAPPEARED AND TORTURED IN THE NAME OF COUNTER-TERORISM                                                      6 Am
nesty International

Amnesty International is calling on President al-Sisi to both acknowledge and eradicate the use of enforced disap
pearances and torture, and to do so without delay. The President should establish an independent commission of in
quiry to investigate
serious human rights violations and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. As an immediate step, h
e should order all detaining authorities to give those currently subjected to enforced disappearance access to th
eir family and
lawyers, and
release immediately and unconditionally all those held solely for peacefully exercising their rights, including t
heir rights of freedom of expression and assembly. All states should use whatever influence they can with the Egy
ptian authorities to
the use of enforced disappearances, torture and other serious human rights violations. In particular, states that
 have long maintained close diplomatic, trade and other ties with Egypt, including EU member states and the Unite
d States of America,
take the lead in pressing the Egyptian government to cease these human rights violations, including by barring an
y further transfers of security, policing and military equipment that could be used to commit or facilitate viola
tions, at least until
conducts full prompt, impartial and independent investigations into alleged violations and brings those responsib
le to justice.

                                    7 Amnesty International

                                    8 Amnesty International


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 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Over the last 18 months, hundreds of people have been abducted by Egypt’s National Security Ag
ency and held without access to their lawyers and families while officials deny any knowledge of their whereabout
s.  The National
Agency is torturing victims of such enforced disappearances into “confessing” to serious criminal offences, inclu
ding “terrorism”. Prosecutors routinely ignore allegations of enforced disappearances, as well as evidence of tor
ture and other
 The wave of enforced disappearances began in March 2015, with the appointment of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel G
haffar – a long-serving officer in Egypt’s state-security forces. Victims have ranged from members of the banned 
Muslim Brotherhood
group to
activists critical of Egypt’s system of government; from retirees to boys as young as aged 14.
 The report is based on over 70 interviews with lawyers, NGO workers, released detainees and family members of vi
 Amnesty International is calling on President al-Sisi to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to investi
gate all cases of enforced disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment.
 States should press Egypt to end enforced disappearances and should also prohibit the transfer of arms and equip
ment which the country’s security forces may use to commit human rights violations.

INDEX: MDE 12/4396/2016 JULY 2016 LANGUAGE: ENGLISH amnesty.org