Interior Ministry human rights chief denies "enforced disappearances" exist in Egypt

Wednesday 14-10-2015 06:58 PM
Interior Ministry human rights chief denies

Logo of the Egyptian Interior Ministry


CAIRO, Oct 14 (Aswat Masriya) - There are no cases of involuntary or enforced disappearance in Egypt, said Salah Fouad, the interior minister's aide for human rights on Wednesday, demanding that those "who promote such allegations must prove them." 

Fouad accused the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group - now designated a terrorist organization - of waging a propaganda campaign to "exploit civil society organisations, whether international or domestic, by claiming that there are cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt in order to put pressure on the government and restrict its ability to prosecute terrorists." 

Since the military's removal of MB-affiliated President Mohamed Mursi from power in July 2013, thousands of the group's members have been arbitrarily arrested. Hundreds, including Mursi and the group's top leaders, have been sentenced to death in what rights groups have described as show trials lacking due process.

In a report by state-owned agency MENA, Fouad said that Egypt is a sigantory to the United Nation's agreement on protecting persons from enforced disappearance, which fights impunity for perpetrators of this crime whether they belong to the government or organised groups. 

According to the UN definition, "enforced disappearance" is a term that applies to "persons who are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials in different branches or levels of government... followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law." 

Fouad said that his denial of the existence of such cases is to "challenge" such allegations, not to justify the ministry's position.

"While freedom is guaranteed to everyone," he continued, "the state has the right in certain cases and under specific conditions to restrict the freedom of those who violate the law."

Fouad denied claims made by Egypt's National Council for Human Rigths - a government entity - that there are 163 cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt, 66 of which fit the definition of such disappearances, in addition to 64 cases of illegal detention and 31 cases where the authorites have failed to investigate related complaints.

He challenged the human rights body to list names not offer numbers to allow him to "verify" these claims which, he said, only serve to "create chaos and confusion". 

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