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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Arrest of three members of the Tagammu Party

14 March 1999

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) received with deep
concern news of the arrest by State Security Investigations (SSI) officers
of three members of the Tagammu political party in the Shobra El-Kheyma
district, near Cairo, on 12 March 1999. The arrested are Mohamed Aouf,
trade unionist, Yehia Fekry Amin, engineer, and Wael Mohamed Tawfik. The
following day, 13 March, they were referred to the State Security
Prosecution in connection with official report no. 377/1999-High State
Security, on charges of disseminating information that threatens public
security and inciting workers to strike. The State Security Prosecution
ordered their release on LE 500 bail pending investigations.

According to the information received by the EOHR, they were arrested
following their participation in a conference held to discuss the new draft
Unified Labour Law. They were taken to the SSI office in Shobra El-Kheyma,
where SSI officers blindfolded and questioned them for more than two hours.
Later, they were transferred to the Shobra El-Kheyma police station and
held there until the following day, when they were referred to the State
Security Prosecution at noon. The EOHR was also informed that the arrests
took place upon a report by the SSI which alleged that Mohamed Hassan Aouf
and others were planning to stir unrest among workers inside the companies
and factories of Shobra El-Kheyma. Such plans included disseminating
information and holding a series of conferences and meetings aimed to
incite workers to reject the new labour law and hamper its issuance by the

The EOHR is seriously concerned about the arrest campaigns launched by the
SSI against opposing social and political forces, whether legally
recognized or not, without legal grounds. This case is particularly serious
given that the three men were arrested merely for exercising their right to
discuss issues of concern to them as citizens, such as laws and draft laws.
The organization is also deeply worried about the continuous ill-treatment
of political detainees inside SSI offices.

The EOHR asserts that such practices violate the rights to peaceful
association and freedom of opinion and expression, which are stipulated by
the Constitution and international human rights conventions ratified by the
Egyptian Government. Therefore, it urges the authorities to stop such
practices and guarantee the enjoyment of these rights to all Egyptian
citizens. It also calls on civil society institutions, especially political
parties, trade unions, syndicates, intellectuals and social activists, to
cooperate in defence of human rights and to urge the Egyptian Government to
take serious and prompt steps to stop these violations which endanger human
rights conditions in Egypt.

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