The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
EOHR's message to the public opinion on Mother's Day
"Remember the Mothers of the Victims of Recurrent Detention"
20 March 1999On Mother's Day many people do not know that in Egyptian cities, villages and hamlets many mothers live in sadness, dying a little every day, because their sons are behind walls of silence and isolation inside Egyptian prisons. These mothers are simple Egyptian women. Their sons, the same ones who received judicial release orders many times before, are the victims of recurrent detention because the authorities insist on ignoring these orders and continue to re-detain thousands of youth whom they suspect of having links with Islamic militant groups. The years go by and their sons remain in prison, without any hope of seeing the light of the outside world. The mothers, in spite of their grief, dream of seeing them back. They bring their complaints to the EOHR appealing to our conscience, and the organization in turn appeals to the public's conscience through them. As it shall be seen in the words of the mothers themselves, more effective than any other words, the tragedy lies not only in their sons' absence, but in the fact that their life is in danger due to the lack of medical care inside prisons. Some of the detainees are afflicted with tuberculosis, paralysis and other fatal diseases. The mothers sometimes would prefer the death of their sons to put an end to their suffering. In this respect, the words of the mother of Tarek Ibrahim Mohamed, in detention since April 1994, speak by themselves There is no justice in this country, I don't know why they do this to my son. If they killed him it would be better for him. On my last visit, he had to be carried by one of his fellow prisoners; he could not stand on his feet so he had to lie down, and the visit was finished before we could say anything. It is a sin, really, it is a sinů The EOHR changes, for the first time, its traditional ways by issuing a report that it hopes will become a message to human conscience and testify to the suffering of the mothers of all those held in recurrent detention. The report, entitled "Remember the mothers of the victims of recurrent detention", includes about 40 complaints from mothers of detainees. However, it must be noted that the total number of complaints received by the organization amounts to hundreds, as do the appeals sent by the EOHR to the authorities, to which it received no reply. The legal aspects of the phenomenon of recurrent detention, which are included as an appendix to the report, are examined in the light of legal, constitutional and international human rights principles. Recurrent detention may be defined as"The restriction of the freedom of a given person who did not commit a crime warranting his arrest or trial, by way of successive administrative orders issued contrary to law provisions or by circumventing final judicial verdicts acquitting that person of the charges brought against him or ordering his release." The last part of the report reiterates a number of practical recommendations which, if implemented, would put an end to this serious human rights violation. The first of these recommendations urges that the Emergency Law be revoked, as it empowers the authorities to conduct random arrest campaigns, and to maintain persons illegally detained for lengthy periods after serving penalty terms or after the issuance of final acquittal or release rulings by the courts. With this report, the EOHR brings the voices of those mothers to the public in the hope that their complaints will be heeded. In their name, and that of thousand others, the EOHR urges the Egyptian authorities to release all those recurrently detained in breach of court rulings ordering their release or acquitting them, as a demonstration of respect for legal and constitutional provisions and the sanctity of judicial rulings. It also calls on all civil society institutions and organizations, political parties, intellectuals and all concerned to work together for the revocation of the Emergency Law, the ending of the practice of recurrent detention and the implementation of human rights principles in Egypt.
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