Egypt: While 2 Teachers Disappear Following their Arrest by the Police, the Authorities Keep Denying the Mere Existence of This Practice
On 7 February 2016, teachers Medhat Mohamed Bahi Aldin Ahmed Abdelhameed and Madgy Hassan Amer Hassan disappeared following their arrest by the Egyptian police from Medhat's apartment in Giza. Despite having solicited various official bodies to establish their fates and whereabouts, their respective families, blissfully unaware of the reasons for their arrests, were met with a wall of silence. In view of the facts and the lack of remedy at the national level, and with the hope of putting an end to their enforced disappearance, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), asking this United Nations human rights protection mechanism to request the Egyptian authorities to disclose their respective places of detention and authorise their families and lawyers to visit them.
On 15 November 2015, the police arrested Adel Ayachi and Tijani Ben Derrah, two bloggers and human rights activists who had, the day before, participated in a peaceful protest for freedom of expression. Almost three months later, the two activists remain detained in the prison of El Harrach, a suburb of Algiers, awaiting trial. Alkarama seized the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders (SR HRD) with their case on 8 February 2016.
On 12 and 31 January 2016, the police respectively arrested 15-year-old Asser Mohammed Zahr Aldeen Abdelwarth and 18-year-old Abdelrahman Mohammed Saleh Mohammed at their home, in Giza and Cairo. In spite of their numerous efforts to locate them, their respective families have not heard from them since and fear that they could be tortured during their secret detention. With a view to contributing to end their ordeals, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to ask the Egyptian authorities to disclose their places of detention and to authorise their families and lawyers to visit them immediately.
On 3 February 2016, 25-year-old photojournalist Ahmed Jaber Al Fardan was arrested, after being sentenced to three months imprisonment for allegedly attempting to attend an illegal gathering in 2013. Considering his detention arbitrary, on 5 February 2016, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), requesting it to call upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately release Al Fardan.
On 13 December 2015, journalist Taysir Hasan Mahmoud Salman was arrested by police forces at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Abu Dhabi and taken to an unknown location. Almost two months later, he remains disappeared. In view of these facts, on 4 February 2016, Alkarama sent Taysir's case to the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), hoping that this United Nations Special Procedure for the protection of human rights will help shed light on his fate and whereabouts.
On 4 September 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted Opinion 38/2015 calling upon the Saudi authorities to immediately release nine prominent human rights defenders, including head of Monitor for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA) Waleed Abu Al Khair, members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) Abdul Karim Al-Khodr, Mohammad Al Qahtani and Abdullah Al Hamid and blogger Raif Badawi. According to the UN experts, all nine men were imprisoned solely for exercising their legitimate right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.