Egypt's anti-torture center still open after another closure attempt

Tuesday 05-04-2016 06:48 PM

Director of El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture Magda Adly in an interview with Aswat Masriya on Oct. 3, 2012

CAIRO, Apr 5 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's anti-torture El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence pulled through another closure attempt by health ministry officials on Tuesday.

According to the center's official page on Facebook, the health ministry officials insisted on closing the center without showing the closure order.

The center's founders Aida Seif al-Dawla and Magda Adly refused to leave the center's premises. Accordingly the health minister's officials told the interior ministry they were "prevented" from implementing the closure order, Dawla told Aswat Masriya.

The health ministry's spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Founded in 1993, El Nadeem provides "psychological management and rehabilitation to victims of torture," and has become reputable over the years, especially within Egypt's civil society.

The center surveys and documents cases of torture, enforced disappearances and conditions inside Egyptian prisons.

Last February,  the health ministry threatened to close El Nadeem for "violations", that were not specified at the time. The move caused public outcry and criticism with rights groups and defenders locally and internationally condemning the attempt.

International watchdog Human Rights Watch's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson criticized then El Nadeem's closure attempt saying its "unconscionable", especially "when Interior Ministry agents are committing rampant abuse of people in custody”.

More than a dozen local rights groups considered the attempt "an assault" on independent rights organisations and announced their solidarity with the center in a February statement.

Egypt recently reopened the investigation into the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) foreign funding case.

The case dates back to 2011 when Egyptian authorities raided several NGOs and launched an investigation. It later on simply came to be known as the NGO trial, in which 43 Egyptians and foreigners were convicted in 2013.

The decision to reopen investigation prompted the U.S. to express concern over the human rights situation in Egypt.

Nazra for Feminist Studies announced late March that it is included in the investigation as three of its staff members were summoned for interrogation. 

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