2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


438. By letter dated 2 September 2002 sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases.

439. Ahmed Taha Mohamed Yousef was reportedly arrested instead of his brother on 23 February 2002, and taken to the El Wayli Police Station, in El Wayli district, Cairo, where he was allegedly beaten to death. It was also reported that one officer beat him in the street while he was allegedly handcuffed. The three policemen involved were reportedly sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour and to payment of civil compensation.

440. Said Qenawy Selim was reportedly arrested on 27 February 2001 after being accused of theft. He was allegedly detained in a police station for 11 days during which he was not referred to any judicial authority for investigation. Reportedly, on 8 March 2001, his family was allegedly informed that he had been transferred to the morgue. It was reported that his corpse revealed several injuries. The family was believed to have later been subjected to intimidation by the officers of Imbaba Police Station.

441. Mohamed Samir Aboul Wafa, a detainee at the Hadayek Al-Qubba Police Station, reportedly died while in custody on 13 January 2001. His father allegedly saw marks of physical violence on his arms and chest and around his neck as well as marks left by ropes on his shoulders and around his ankles. It was reported that the body, which was also examined by the Hadayek Al-Qubba public prosecutor and a forensic expert summoned by the latter, was found to have been bleeding from the nose, ears and mouth. The expert allegedly stated that the death was caused by a sharp decline in the blood circulation and respiratory system. The family was reported to have filed complaints to various authorities requesting an investigation.

442. Khaled Salem Mohamed Salem was reportedly arrested on 9 May 2000 by officers from the Quesna police. He was allegedly referred to the prosecutor’s office on suspicion of attempted murder and held for four days for investigation. It was reported that on 17 May 2002, his relatives were informed about his death. The ambulance driver who brought him to the hospital allegedly testified that during the transfer to the hospital the detainee was bleeding from his ear, nose and mouth and other parts of his body. The family reportedly filed a case with the Quesna prosecutor’s office, demanding an investigation into his death. His two brothers, Ahmed and Mohamed Salem, reportedly went on hunger strike afterwards.

443. Abdel Hamid Ramadan Abdel Hamid Zahran (commonly known as Khaled Zahran) was reportedly arrested on charges of drug trafficking on 12 August 1999. It was reported that on 10 March 2000, he was summoned to the Qalyubeya State Security where other detainees allegedly saw him in a bad condition. Khaled Zahran reportedly died the following day. The doctor who conducted the forensic examination reportedly concluded that his death was the result of a rib fracture as well as a heart and respiration failure. He was also said to have noticed bruises on his kidneys and blood clotting in his brain. An account of the facts had allegedly been transmitted to the relevant authorities.

444. Ahmed Hassan Ahmed was reportedly arrested on 27 February 2000 and detained in the investigation unit of Shobra El-Kheima Police Station. On 2 March 2000 his relatives were allegedly informed of his death. One of his relatives who assisted in the ritual washing of the corpse in the Nasser Public Hospital reportedly observed that the body revealed several injuries. An autopsy was allegedly conducted on the same day. An account of the facts was reportedly sent to the Minister of the Interior and to the public prosecutor’s office.

445. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases.

446. A 19-year-old university student was reportedly arrested by a police officer from the Department for Eradicating Crimes Against Public Morality at the Interior Ministry, in Cairo, on 19 May 2002, and taken to the Vice Squad headquarters in the Tahrir Administrative Compound where he was allegedly beaten, severely shaken and forced to sign a confession stating that he had been a passive partner in an anal sex relationship with several men over a three- year period. He was reportedly transferred to Qasr El-Nil Prosecution office for further interrogation. Although the medical tests he allegedly underwent on 21 May 2002, upon the prosecutor’s order, did not show any evidence of anal sex, he was reportedly found guilty of “habitual practice of debauchery” and of “enticing passers-by to commit indecency”, and sentenced on 8 June 2002 to three years’ imprisonment, a fine and three additional years of probation or close supervision.

447. Mahmoud Abd El Fatah, aged 17, was reportedly whipped, subjected to electric shocks and threatened with dogs while in custody after he was allegedly sentenced in 2001 to three years’ imprisonment with hard labour and to three years’ probation for alleged habitual debauchery.

448. Saif al-Islam Mohammad Raswan was reportedly subjected to electric shocks, beaten and suspended from a horizontal pole while detained at a branch of the State Security intelligence in Giza for several days in May 2001.

449. Nacibov Khabib Gasimagmetovich, Magomededov Akhmed Abdullaevich and Magomedov Nazim Magomedbekovich, all students at the Islamic International University “Al-Azhar”, Cairo, were reportedly taken from their home on 9 May 2001. They were reportedly subjected to electric shocks and beaten while in custody. Their relatives were allegedly not informed about the reasons for their arrest nor their whereabouts.

450. Mahmoud Abdel Hafiz Mostafa, a security official in a restaurant in Mohandessin, was reportedly insulted, slapped with a shoe on the face, flung on the ground and beaten by an officer of the State Security Investigation (SSI) at Imbaba Police Station, on 7 March 2000. Complaints were allegedly filed to the relevant authorities. In particular, an account was reportedly transmitted to the Imbaba Police Station and referred to the prosecution, on 7 March 2000.

451. Ramadan Mostafa Mohamed was reportedly summoned on 8 March 2000 to the Al-Matareya Police Station, where he was allegedly slapped on the face, hung to a door with his hands tied behind his back and beaten while in this position. Reportedly, he was subsequently pulled from his legs, waist and head, and beaten on the shoulders at the same time. He was also reported to have been subjected to the falaka (a long stick with a rope looped through its ends, which, when twisted secures the feet of the victim who is bastinadoed with another stick or whip on his or her feet). He was reportedly released the following day. He reportedly filed an account to the Prosecutor’s Office of Al-Matareya on 12 March 2000 and was referred to a doctor for a medical examination.

452. Saber Sayed Ali Agami was reportedly assaulted and beaten by police officers, on 9 March 2000, in Qasr Al-Nil Street. He allegedly lost consciousness and was transferred to Abdien Police Station, where an account of the incident was reportedly filed. It was reported that he was subsequently transferred to Ahmed Maher Hospital for medical examination, according to which he suffered a double fracture in his lower and middle jaw. Complaints were reported to have been sent to the relevant authorities.

453. Ali Sayed Abou Serei Sayed was reportedly assaulted on 6 February 2000 by a SSI officer, a soldier and a third person with whom he previously had some conflicts. Reportedly, his hands were tied to his back and he was dragged, blindfolded and bleeding from his head and face, to Al-Wasty Police Station, where it was alleged that his hands were tied behind his back and his feet were tied with iron shackles. He was allegedly hung to a door, slapped and beaten until he fainted. It was reported that as a result, he suffered from a brain contusion, abrasions and bruises and superficial wounds. He was allegedly transferred to the Beni Suef Public Hospital. An account was reportedly filed with a public prosecutor and other relevant authorities.

454. Hamza Radi El-Sayed was reportedly arrested on 14 January 2000 by police assistants of Al-Sharabeya Police Station and dragged to the police station’s investigation unit. He was allegedly referred to the prosecutor’s office on 15 January 2000, which decided to release him by warranty of his residence. However, he was reportedly sent back to Al-Sharabeya Police Station and forced into a dark room known as the “refrigeration room”, where the investigation chief and his aides allegedly subjected him to various forms of ill-treatment. Reportedly, his hands were tied behind his back, he was slapped on the face, nape of the neck and back, flogged on the back and drenched with cold water and subjected to the falaka. It was thought that he was released before an inspection committee came to the police station. He reportedly sustained scars on his back, abrasions all over his body and a swollen neck. An account was reportedly filed with a prosecutor.

455. By the same letter, the Special Rapporteur informed the Government that he had received follow-up information regarding Farid Zahran, an NGO activist on behalf of whom the Special Rapporteur transmitted a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 26 September 2001 (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, para.509), and regarding which the Government already responded by a letter dated 15 October 2001 (ibid., para. 510), who was reportedly released on bail on 2 October 2001. According to the new information received, the prison authorities refused to let him be examined by a medical expert about his heart condition despite his requests. It was also reported that he was beaten at the time of his arrest and kept blindfolded for four hours afterwards, as well as held in solitary confinement for almost two weeks.

456. By letter dated 16 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases.

457. Sabah Abdel Hamid Ahmed (f) was reportedly summoned on 16 January 2001 to the Al-Waily Police Station, where she was allegedly ordered to remove her shoes and repeatedly subjected to the falaka. It was alleged that when her feet were swollen, police assistants poured hot water on the ground and ordered her to keep jumping on it. Released three days later, she was reportedly threatened with being arrested again when she went to the Al-Waily Police Station to file a complaint. At the Al-Demerdash Hospital, doctors allegedly refused to issue a medical report without police permission. She reportedly filed a complaint to the Attorney General, which is alleged to have been referred to Al-Waily prosecutor’s office on 22 January 2001.

458. Rania Fathi ‘Abd al-Rahman, a 15-year-old girl, was reportedly detained in April 2001 for one day, together with other family members. She was allegedly subjected to electric shocks while held at the police station of Shubrat al-Khaima’s first precinct. Reportedly, a family member who subsequently filed a torture complaint was intimidated and harassed. No investigation was reported to have been initiated.

459. By letter dated 2 October 2002, the Government informed that the two letters dated 2 September 2002 sent by the Special Rapporteur and by the Special Rapporteur jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions had been forwarded to the competent authorities. The Government also indicated that due to the need for a translation into Arabic, the large number of cases and the lack of essential details, it would be difficult to provide information by the foreseen deadline. Yet, the Government assured the Special Rapporteur that all efforts would be made to respond to his requests.

460. By letter dated 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 2001 regarding which no reply had been received.

Urgent appeals

461. On 8 January 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Muhammad Muhammad Suleiman Ibrahim El-Zari and Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza who were reportedly forcibly returned to Egypt by the Swedish authorities on 18 December 2001. It is believed that they have been described in various international publications as members of an armed Islamist group although they reportedly denied this. They were reportedly detained incommunicado in an unknown location.

462. By letter dated 10 September 2002, the Government informed that the Swedish consular authorities and lawyers visited them in prison and praised the treatment they were receiving. Representatives of the Swedish News Agency in Cairo, who also visited the two prisoners, reportedly published a positive account of the interview with them. The Government assured that both men were being treated in accordance with international human rights standards.

463. On 25 January 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of five men detained in connection with their actual or perceived sexual orientation and who had already been detained, early January 2002 in Buhaira Province, southeast of Alexandria. On 15 January, the Public Prosecutor of Damanhour reportedly ordered the men to be detained while investigations were carried out into allegations of "habitual debauchery", a charge allegedly used to criminalize homosexual acts. As the Public Prosecution reportedly ordered the defendants to be medically examined by forensic experts, fears were expressed that the men would be forcibly subjected to anal examinations.

464. On 14 March 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Yassir Ahmad Fouad, Mansour Hassan Muhamad, Ali Rizq Muhammad, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and Samir Mahmud Ali who had reportedly been sentenced on 11 March 2002 to three years’ imprisonment at a trial held in Damanhour, Al-Beheira Province, on charges of “habitual practice of debauchery” and “operating a house for the purpose of debauchery”. It was reported that they had confessed under duress to consensual homosexual acts. The prosecutor was said to have confirmed that they had been subjected to an anal examination. The men had allegedly been beaten at Beheira Security Directorate and Damanhour Prison and two of them had reportedly been subjected to electric shocks at Damanhour Police Station No. 1 detention facility.

465. By letter dated 4 June 2002, the Government responded that Yassir Ahman Fouad, Mansour Hassan Muhamad, Ali Rizq Muhammad, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and Samir Mahmud Ali had been arrested on suspicion of engaging in habitual debauchery, as defined under the provisions of the law, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by the Damanhour Court. An appeal lodged in Dama nhour was upheld in a ruling handed down on 13 April 2002, and the accused were acquitted.

466. On 24 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative on human rights defenders on behalf of nine activists who were reportedly arrested in May 2002 after they had announced that they were organizing a peaceful demonstration to protest against alleged massacres committed by Israeli troops in the Palestinian occupied territories.

467. Manal Khaled, an editor working for an Egyptian TV station, and Sameh Kamal, a computer engineer, were reportedly arrested on 5 May 2002 at El Tahrir Square by several plain-clothes policemen, taken to Kasr El Neil Police Station and presented to the State Security Prosecution, where they were said to have been charged with holding documentation and publications that allegedly disrupt public security. The whereabouts of the two men were said to be unknown.

468. Engineer Ali Abd El Fatah, the Secretary-General of the Popular Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, three owners of a publishing house, Gamal Mady, Ahmed Abd El Hafez and Khaled Souleman, and two owners of a printing house, Ahmed Ali and Ashraf Ali were reportedly arrested at their homes on 14 May 2002 by members of the Alexandria State Security Investigation. They were reportedly beaten and insulted during their arrest. They were said to have been brought before Cairo State Security Investigation (SSI), and charged with publishing propaganda to disrupt public security.

469. Dr. Gamal Abd El Fatah Abd El Dayeim, another activist from the Popular Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, was reportedly arrested on 13 May 2002 in Hadayiek, El Maadi, by members of an anti-drug force from the Directorate of Cairo Security. He was reportedly assaulted, beaten and insulted, before he was taken to the Security Directorate and brought before El Basateen Prosecution, where he was charged with selling expired medicines and with announcing false news, propaganda and publication that disrupt public security. He was reportedly released on 19 May on bail, following a decree by the South Cairo Public Prosecutor.

470. By letter dated 21 June 2002, the Government replied that Manal Ahmad Khaled and Sameh Kamal Yusuf had been arrested on 10 May 2002 and presented on 12 May 2002 before the State security prosecution, which decided that they should be released once their addresses had been confirmed. Dr. Gamal Abd El Fatah Mohammed had been arrested on 13 May 2002 following a search authorized by a warrant issued by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in which contraband medicines were found on the premises of a pharmacy he owned in Cairo. He was presented to DPP, which decided to remand him in custody for a period of 15 days pending investigation. On 19 May 2002, the Deputy Public Prosecutor ordered his release on bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds. He was released after paying the bail. Ahmed Abd El Hafez and Ashraf Ali Abd El Hafez were arrested on warrant by the Supreme State Security Prosecution on 10 May 2002. On 14 May 2002, Ali Abd El Fatah, Khaled Hasan Souleman, Gamal Sa’ad Mady and Ahmed Mahmud Abd El Hafez were arrested for preparing and printing statements and publications inciting the citizens. They were presented before the State Security Prosecution, which decided to take them into custody pending further investigation. They are being reinterviewed.

471. On 17 July 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of ‘Aziza ‘Abbas Muhammad who had reportedly been arrested on 8 July 2002. She was allegedly held incommunicado at an unknown location, possibly by members of the SSI. It was reported that she had previously been twice detained and interrogated before being released the following day. On 29 June, her two sons, one of them a minor, was reportedly accused of trying to supply their father Nabil ‘Abd al-Majid al- Maghrebi, who is currently serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison in Tora for being a member of an armed Islamist group, with a mobile telephone. The young men had reportedly been issued with a 30-day detention order and had been sent to the Istiqbal Tora Prison.

472. On 25 July 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on behalf of Sayida Muhammad Gad al-Rab, a law student, who had reportedly been arrested on 21 July 2002 in the ‘Ain Shams District of Cairo by members of SSI. She was said to be held incommunicado at an unknown location. Her arrest may have been connected to the arrest of her husband, Muhammad Ghuneim, who has been detained for almost a decade without charge or trial under emergency legislation, as an alleged member of an armed Islamist group.

473. On 2 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on behalf of Mohamed Ahmed Abdo Hegazy, a student who was reportedly arrested on 5 September 2002 by SSI in Port Said and charged with "spreading rumors that disrupt public security" after the publication of his poems. He was allegedly ill-treated while at SSI, as he was handcuffed and blindfolded. His detention was allegedly extended by 11 and 15 days by the State Security, on 7 September 2002 and 18 September, respectively. He was reportedly kept in Mazra'et Tora Prison.

Follow-up to previously transmitted communications

474. By letter dated 2 January 2002, the Government responded to the letter sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women on 30 September 2001 on behalf of Salha Sayid Qasim (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, para.506). The Government has been unable to verify the allegations made by her due to the lack of any official records with regard to her arrest or detention.


475. While noting that no response has been provided to a number of cases brought to the attention of the Government since last year, the Special Rapporteur acknowledges the letter dated 2 October 2002 by which the Government expressed its intention to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur in providing responses to these cases. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur notes with concern that the Government did not extend to him an invitation to visit Egypt. He would like to recall that a request for such a mission was initially made in 1996.

476. The Special Rapporteur notes the concerns of the Human Rights Committee expressed in October 2002 after its consideration of the third and fourth periodic reports of Egypt under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as follows: “[w]hile noting the creation of institutional machinery and the introduction of measures to punish any violations of human rights by employees of the State, the Committee notes with concern the persistence of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of law-enforcement personnel, in particular the security services, whose recourse to such practices appears to display a systematic pattern. It is equally concerned at the general lack of investigations into such practices, punishment of those responsible, and reparation for the victims. It is also concerned at the absence of any independent body to investigate such complaints (articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant).” (CCPR/CO/76/EGY, para. 13) These concerns were also most recently echoed by those expressed by the Committee against Torture after its consideration of the fourth periodic report of Egypt under the Convention against Torture as follows: “[t]he many consistent reports received concerning the persistence of the phenomenon of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by law enforcement officials, and the absence of measures ensuring effective protection and prompt and impartial investigations. Many of these reports relate to numerous cases of deaths in custody; [t]he Committee expresses particular concern at the widespread evidence of torture and ill-treatment in administrative premises under the control of the State Security Investigation Department, the infliction of which is reported to be facilitated by the lack of any mandatory inspection by an independent body of such premises.” (CAT/C/XXIX/Misc.4 (non edited version), para. 5 (b) and (c))

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.