FOCUS: UN Secretary General Report – "Tip of the Iceberg" of Reprisals Against Human Rights Defenders Who Cooperate With the UN
In his last report to the Human Rights Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon raised cases of retaliation against persons who have cooperated with the United Nations, ranging from threats, travel bans, arbitrary detention and torture, which he says are only the "tip of the iceberg". Last May, Alkarama had provided the Secretary General with a report on the state of reprisals against human rights defenders in the Arab world.
On 15 September 2014, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly sent a joint urgent appeal to the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances concerning the abduction of Riad Abdel Majeed Al Obeidi, a former Air Force Brigade pilot, in Al A'amiriya on 1 June 2014. Having not been seen since, his family fears that he be tortured or ill-treated, particularly after he managed to contact them, from his detention place, in mid-June.
Egypt: UN Urges Release of Civilians Tried Before Military Courts for Participating in Demonstration
On 16 July 2014, the Secretary of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), Miguel de la Lama informed Alkarama that, during its 69th session on 24 April 2014, the WGAD had recognised the arbitrary nature of the detention of 12 Egyptian citizens arrested in July and August 2013 during peaceful demonstrations, and consequently tried before military courts. The WGAD, which also considered that their right to freedom of expression had been breached, urged the Egyptian authorities to remedy to this situation by immediately releasing them and providing them with compensation.
On 14 July 2014, the police arrested 15 individuals during a violent dispersal of a peaceful demonstration in Al Fayoum. Detained in Badar Al Fayoum's police station since their arrest, they also report having been subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
Alkarama welcomes the release, yesterday evening, of Mohammad Al Fazari, an Omani journalist and human rights activist, detained incommunicado for 5 days. Summoned to the Royal Omani Police headquarters in Muscat on 31 August 2014, he was immediately arrested without reason and detained in an unknown location. This arrest and detention happened just a week before the United Nations' Special Rapporteur for the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association, Mr Maina Kiai's official visit to Oman to meet with the local civil society.