Interior ministry reveals fate of alleged 'enforced disappearances' cases - NHRC

Monday 18-01-2016 10:58 PM

CAIRO, Jan. 18 (Aswat Masriya) – The state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that interior ministry revealed the fate of 118 out of 191 cases of alleged "enforced disappearances," after their families had complained to the council.

According to the NHCR statement, the interior ministry assigned a team to investigate the whereabouts of the cases, and whether they were within the hold of the ministry or not.

The police team responded to 118 of the 191 cases presented to them. Fifteen of the cases were released, 99 are detained in various prisons on various charges and three of the cases escaped from detention. 

According to the United Nations, "enforced disappearance" signifies what "is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law."

The Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence recorded a total of 464 cases of "enforced disappearance" during the time period between Jan. and Dec. 2015.

The Interior Ministry’s aide for Human Rights Salah Fouad denied in October the existence of any cases of involuntary or enforced disappearances. He further challenged those “ who promote such allegations" to prove them. 

Among the cases of "enforced disappearances" is that of a member of al-Dostour party Ashraf Shehata, who according to his wife Maha Mekkawy has “forcibly disappeared” since Jan. 13, 2014. While the NHCR initially stated that Shehata has been detained in Zagazig prison, his wife later stated that prison administrators told her he was actually in Wadi al-Natroun prison. 

Media reports later stated that Shehata was confused with another man whp carries that same name and has been sentenced to five years in prison. Shehata's exact whereabouts are still unclear and are yet to be known.

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