November 2, 2018
Human rights defender Ezzat Ghoneim disappeared from Al Haram police station 10 days after he was granted conditional release on 4 September 2018. He remained unlawfully detained until 13 September 2018, when police officers informed his wife of his alleged release. The whereabouts of the human rights defender have been unknown ever since. Cases of enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, after courts ruling in their favor, have become a frequent practice in Egypt in recent months.
Ezzat Ghoneim is a human rights defender and lawyer focusing on the right to fair trial and enforced disappearances. Since 2014, he has served as executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, a human rights organisation which works on arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, medical negligence and torture inside prisons.
On 4 September 2018, Ezzat Ghoneim was granted conditional release. However, Al-Haram police station refused to release him and justified the decision by stating that they were waiting for “instructions from the National Security Agency”. Even though on 13 September 2018, the human rights defender’s wife was told by police officers that her husband was released, he has not been seen ever since. The authorities are denying any link to his disappearance.
ECRF, which documents enforced disappearances and the expanding use of the death penalty, has been hard hit with the crackdown. Another of those arrested three days ago is Mohamed Abu Horira, lawyer and former spokesperson for ECRF, while human rights defender Ezzat Ghoniem, the co-founder of ECRF, and Azzouz Mahgoub, another lawyer , have been forcibly disappeared since 14 September. Both were arrested in March 2018 but a court ordered their release on 4 September. However, security forces ignored the court order and instead forcibly disappeared them from prison.
In a statement published last Thursday announcing the suspension of its human rights work, ECRF cited the current climate in Egypt as incompatible with human rights work and demanded intervention by the UN Human rights Council.
(Egyptian Coordination for rights and freedoms Facebook, 04/11/18)
Egypt continues to suffer from unprecedented human rights abuses, in which both women and men are bring humiliated. The abuse has not stopped at this point, but it has now been escalated to involve all of those who defend the oppressed. At the heart of these human rights defenders is the Egyptian Coordination For Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) whose Executive Director had been arrested and his location remains unknown until now. Arrests have now extended to more ECRF members, as well as to the former member of the National Council for Human Rights
and former ECRF legal adviser team
Professor Hoda Abdel Moneim, who acts as an independent human rights defender, and some other human rights activists.
Accordingly, the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms has taken the decision to suspend its human rights work in Egypt until further notice in protest against the continued enforced disappearance of its executive director, the human rights activist and lawyer Ezzat Ghneim, and in protest against the new wave of arrests that affected a number of human rights defenders including Mrs Hoda Abdel Moneim, former member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights and Mr Mohamed Abu Huraira, lawyer and former spokesman for ECRF.
We emphasize the following:
1. The human rights climate in Egypt is not conducive to the practice of any local human rights work.
2. The continued targeting of the ECRF and other human rights activists in Egypt constitutes a premeditated crime that necessitates the intervention of the UN Human Rights Council in accordance with the official agreements signed by the State of Egypt.
3 – The suspension of ECRF activity in Egypt and the absence of any local working team until this decision of suspension is considered together with any reactions to it.
The ECRF, has conducted its legal work in a framework of integrity and professionalism, but has taken this difficult decision to suspend its work despite the critical circumstances in Egypt where human rights abuses are systematic and has exceeded all conventions and customs, in order to make the parties concerned face their responsibilities.
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) in Egypt is required, to immediately carry out its designated role, because its silence in front of the continued attack on human rights defenders is a tacit approval of these acts and suggests complicity of the NCHR in this attack.
The human rights situation in Egypt, especially with regard to the rights of detainees and human rights defenders, has been the worst in Egypt’s history in the past five years. Furthermore, the Egyptian authority has committed the most serious violations beyond all humanitarian norms including the storming of women’s homes, their detention and the arrest of their families over the past three months alone.
As we take this decision, we demand the release of all activists, human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, starting with Mr Ezzat Ghneim and Mrs Huda Abdel Moneim. We stress that ending these unjust practices is extremely important, and even necessary to protect Egypt from the consequences of violence and tyranny.
The ECRF emphasises that it will not leave the human rights field and will continue to stand with the oppressed and be their voice for in every platform.
Egyptian Coordination For Rights and Freedoms
محتاجين نصمم البيان ضرووى
(Egyptian Coordination for rights and freedoms Facebook, 05/11/18)