Save Malek Adly's life, Egyptian rights defenders appeal to UN commissioner

Friday 20-05-2016 08:16 PM

Rights lawyer and activist Malek Adly. Photo from his Facebook account.

CAIRO, May 20 (Aswat Masriya) – Seven Egyptian human rights organisations appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to “immediately intervene to save lawyer Malek Adly’s life” after he was allegedly subjected to torture in custody. 

Adly, who is accused of calling for the April 25 protests against a maritime border demarcation agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, was arrested on May 5 based on a decision by the public prosecution. 

Other charges were leveled against Adly, including “working to overthrow the regime, belonging to one of the associations or organisations that seek to disrupt the provisions of the constitution, broadcasting false news, and possession of publications inciting against the state.” 

The Association for Free Thought and Expression, the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies, Nazra for Feminist Studies and others said in a petition to Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein that Adly is subjected to “vengeful measures” as a punishment for his defence of Egyptians’ rights and his role in exposing human rights violations in the media. 

The rights organisations mentioned in the petition that a delegation representing the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights has recently met with officials from the Egyptian foreign ministry and the state-affiliated National Human Rights Council but did not meet with any independent rights groups. 

The organisations also said that the U.N. delegation failed to issue any statements about “the catastrophic human rights situation in Egypt.” 

Adly’s wife and lawyer said that he was tortured in custody and was kept in solitary confinement, according to the petition. 

On Wednesday, Adly’s detention was renewed for 15 days pending investigation.

Defence lawyer Tarek al-Awady told Aswat Masriya that prosecution was interrogating Adly but his defence lawyers decided to withdraw from the interrogation session due to "legal violations". Awady could not elaborate further because of a gagging order issued by the prosecution regarding Adly's case.

Adly has been openly critical of the government. He was among those who criticised the border agreement on Facebook and asked Egyptians to authorise him to file a lawsuit with the administrative court to cancel the agreement. 

The agreement, which requires the Egyptian government to cede sovereignty over two strategic Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia, stirred up controversy among Egyptians, with critics accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of “selling Egyptian land” in return for Saudi aid. 

It also prompted thousands of Egyptians to take to the streets in rare protests on April 15 and April 25, amid a police campaign of mass arrests of activists opposed to the agreement. 

Sisi defended the decision to hand over the two islands to Saudi Arabia. He said in televised speech in April that "Egypt does not sell its land to anyone and it does not take anyone's land."

The cabinet also argued in a statement that the islands are Saudi, adding that Saudi Arabia requested Egypt to protect them in 1950 and they had been under Egypt's control since. 

facebook comments