EOHR logo

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Reply of US Ambassador vis a vis Egyptians detained in the US

Cairo: 12/12/2001

EOHR received the reply of the American Ambassador in Cairo –Mr. David Welsh – to the letter sent to him by EOHR regarding the Egyptians who are detained in the United States after the terrorist attack of post 11-September The reply was as follows:

Dear Mr. Abou Se'da,

Thank you for your letter regarding the detention of Egyptians in the United Sates as part of the investigation of the September 11 attack. Many recent news reports regarding the ongoing counter-terrorism investigation in the United States have been false, and I welcome the opportunity to clear up misconceptions.

As Attorney General Ashcroft announced November 27, there are currently 55 persons being held on Federal criminal charges. Some of the indictments were filed under seal by order of the court, as it is believed that releasing the identities of those arrested would prejudice the ongoing investigation. The remaining names (those not under seal by court order) have already been released publicly by the Department of Justice. All criminal detainees have the right to counsel and to contact family members or attorneys.

Attorney General Ashcroft also announced that 548 persons have been detained on immigration charges, 74 of whom are Egyptian nationals. U..S privacy laws prevent the Department of Justice from releasing names of non-U.S citizens detained on immigration charges, but they are permitted to make their own identities public. These detainees have a right to counsel and may make telephone calls to family members or attorneys.

In addition to the above , there are persons detained on material-witness warrants as part of the post –September 11 investigation. The Department of Justice cannot provide the number or identity of those being detained because those proceedings are being conducted under seal; however, any detainee may make his own identity public. An individual held on a material-witness warrant has a right to be represented by counsel, to be presented before a judge who determines the necessity of holding the individual on the warrant, and to make telephone calls to family and attorneys.

It should be clear from the above that all those being detained—whether on criminal charges, immigration charges, or on material-witness warrants—have the right to counsel, to contact family members, attorneys , or their embassies, and to make their identities public. I have offered my assistance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in investigating any specific cases in which lack of access is a concern.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

C.David Welsh

It is worth mentioning that EOHR sent a letter to Mr. C. David Welsh on 14 November in which we appealed to him to give us information about the legal status of those people and whether the charges raised against them are supported by evidences and proofs or not. EOHR in this letter calls for the release of the innocent people and wants to make sure that the accused people are able to access to their lawyers, to contact the Egyptian embassy there and to contact their families.

In this regard EOHR thanks Mr. C. David Welsh for his interest in this matter and at the same time, EOHR express its worry regarding the issuance of a decree made by the U.S.A president to form a military court to try the aliens which is a violation of the right to impartial and fair trial stated in the International Covenants. Moreover, such trials reveal a racial look at the aliens. Therefore, EOHR calls for the termination of the aliens' trial before military courts in the United States and calls for the abolishing of such a military decree . Furthermore, EOHR appeals for the Egyptian authority to follow up the investigations of the Egyptian detainees in U.S.A and to provide legal support for them to be released and returned to their country as soon as possible . EOHR also calls for the human rights organizations and the civil associations in U.S.A to intervene to guarantee for the Egyptian detainees in America their civil right and to stop such military trials.

Other EOHR Press Releases
EOHR || Human Rights in Egypt

Derechos HR
This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.