September 21, 2018
Despite an Egyptian court releasing Ezzat Ghoneim over two weeks ago the human rights lawyer and director of the NGO Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms has been missing for 16 days.
Ghoneim’s ordeal began in March this year when State Security Prosecution issued a 15-day detention order against him pending further investigations into undisclosed charges. He was subsequently detained at Tora prison for six months.
The recent court order stipulated he should be released on the condition that he report to the police station every day. According to normal practice detainees are transferred from prison to the police station where they undergo various bureaucratic procedures before being released after a maximum of six days.
However, six days ago Ghoneim’s wife went to the police station where she had been visiting her husband every day. They told her he had been released but his family can’t find him anywhere. It is believed that he is being held incommunicado within state custody.
Fears are growing that the lawyer of Um Zubeida, the woman who spoke to the BBC about the forced disappearance of her daughter, has met the same fate. Azuz Mahbouh was released under condition at the same time as Ghoneim but is also missing.
Disappearing detainees beyond their release is a common tactic used by Egyptian police to further punish activists and lawyers because they can’t stop court orders.
The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms demands that the hiding place of Ezzat Ghoniem is released and that he’s also released immediately.
Egyptian coordination for rights and freedoms calls for the need to disclose the location of detention #EzzatGhoniem, the Executive Director of the Egyptian coordination. We demand that he is released immediately in implementation of the decision of the Court issued by the chairmanship of Counselor Moataz Khafaji on the 4th September.
On September 4th,the Cairo Criminal Court Advisory Chamber held at the Institute of Police Secretaries in Batrah, issued a decision to release him with precautionary measures. He was detained by the Haram Police Department after the decision for ten days.
On the first of March 2018 Mr Ghoneim was arrested on the way home at 6 pm. Security forces intercepted him and kidnapped him and took him to an unknown location for three days until he appeared in the State Security Prosecution in case of case 441 2018 Emergency High State Security.
The prosecution charged him with publishing false news and other accuses.
Until he was forcibly hidden after the department’s administration signed his decision and Ezzat Ghoniem is still under enforced disappearance. His location remains unknown.
Egyptian coordination calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately disclose the place of his detention. The Egyptian authorities also bears responsibility for his safety as we fear that he will be subjected to any pressure or confessions in violation of the law and the constitution.
Egyptian coordination of rights and freedoms
Thursday 20 September
(Egyptian Coordination for rights and freedoms Facebook, 23/09/18)