Unprecedented Spike in Egypt’s Forced Disappearances

Unprecedented Spike in Egypt’s Forced Disappearances

Egypt’s police have been implicated in an “unprecedented spike” in enforced disappearances since early 2015 aimed at quashing dissent, Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday.
“Enforced disappearance has become a key instrument of state policy in Egypt. Anyone who dares to speak out is at risk,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.
The London-based human rights group said abuses had surged since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and unleashed a crackdown on Islamist and secular dissidents, AFP reports.
Children were among those being kept at undisclosed locations for up to several months at a time “to intimidate opponents and wipe out peaceful dissent”, the report said.
The report documents 17 cases, including five children, who had disappeared for periods of “between several days to seven months”, according to the statement.
Egyptian authorities have denied they practice torture, but say there have been isolated incidents of abuse and those responsible have been prosecuted.
The National Council for Human Rights, the country’s official rights watchdog, said on July 3 it had raised 266 cases of enforced disappearances with the interior ministry between April 2015 and end of March.
Many of them have since been accounted for.
Amnesty’s report “exposes ... the collusion between national security forces and judicial authorities”, said Luther.
He accused them of being “prepared to lie to cover their tracks” or failing to investigate torture allegations, “making them complicit in serious human rights violations”.
An average of three to four people disappeared each day, Amnesty said, citing Egyptian non-governmental organizations.
Prosecutors “cruelly betrayed their duty under Egyptian law to protect people from enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment”, said Luther.
Counter-terrorism was “being used as an excuse to abduct, interrogate and torture people who challenge the authorities,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Caption: Police special forces patrolled the streets of Cairo on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.


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