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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

EOHR welcomes the release of 1,200 detainees of the Islamic Group

27 April 1999

Yesterday, 26 April 1999, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
received with satisfaction the news of the release of 1,200 detainees of
Al-Gamaa El-Islameya (the Islamic Group), a move that comes as part of the
process began by the Egyptian authorities to solve the issue of the
detainees. It is worth mentioning that this measure comes only one week
after a Military Court sentenced nine members of El-Jihad group to death
and scores of others to prison.

The EOHR has observed a positive decrease in the number of violent actions
right after the massacre of Deir El-Bahary, Luxor, in November 1997. Since
then, acts of violence have been restricted to a few spots and involved
only members of the security forces and the armed militant groups. The EOHR
did not monitor any organized operations against Egyptian or foreign

The EOHR considers that the continuation of the process to release all
detainees who are not involved in acts of violence will result in a better
climate on both the political and social levels. First, it will stop the
violence that spread throughout Egyptian society in the nineties; and
second, the return of thousands of political detainees to their homes will
put an end to the social tragedy faced by thousands of Egyptian families.

The EOHR welcomes this process and hopes it becomes a permanent policy. To
this end, it calls on the militant groups to discard all kinds of violence.
It also calls on the Egyptian authorities to solve the problem of the
detainees, particularly those who were found not guilty by Military or
State Security Couts or who were released by the prosecution, and those who
are recurrently detained on suspicions of belonging to Islamic militant
groups. The EOHR also calls on the Egyptian authorities to suspend all
exceptional laws, foremost the emergency law, stop the referral of
civilians to the Military Judiciary, take effective measures to stop
torture, and improve conditions inside Egyptian prisons and provide medical
care to prisoners and detainees. In this respect, the EOHR asserts the
importance of revoking the current ban on visits to the prisons of Tora,
Fayoum and Leman Abou Zaabal. Also, the EOHR urges the Egyptian authorities
to stop the execution of death penalty sentences issued by Military Courts
and to refer the accused to their rightful judge. In addition, the
authorities, in cooperation with Egyptian civil society, should provide
those released with appropriate social and economic conditions to
facilitate their rehabilitation into the society.

Finally, in order to end the use of violence as a mechanism for political
expression, the EOHR calls on the Egyptian Government to deepen democracy
by abolishing all restrictions on the right to establish political parties
and civil society organizations. This measure would in turn activate the
rights to political participation and to take part in the conduct of public
affairs, which are guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and
international human rights declarations ratified by the Egyptian

Other EOHR Press Releases
EOHR || Human Rights in Egypt

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