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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

The EOHR strongly condemns the illegal arrest and detention of its Secretary General

Monday 17 August 1998

The EOHR strongly condemns the illegal arrest and detention of its
Secretary General

In an attack on the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and on
human rights activists, a police force from Tora sub-police station, Maadi,
arrested Hafez Abu-Se'da, lawyer and the EOHR Secretary General.  He was
arrested from his mother's house at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday 16 August 1998, on
the claim that there were enforceable judicial rulings against him.  He
asked about official documents proving the existence of such rulings.  The
members of the force claimed that they did not have such documents, and
that he had to go to the said police station to see them.   There, a police
Captain ordered that he would be placed at the detention room on the claim
that there were fine rulings of LE 1500 issued against him. 

Hafez Abu-Se'da tried to explain that he was not the 'wanted' person and
that he is the EOHR secretary general.  Nevertheless, the officer in charge
insisted, in contravention to law provisions, to place him in the detention
room, and added that the Public Prosecution is the area authorized to
decide whether he is the 'wanted' person or not.  He continued that
Abu-Se'da has to wait until the next morning when he will be referred to
the Public Prosecution Department.  He added that he "knows everything
about him!"

However, Hafez Abu-Se'da was detained in a dark room which was smelly due
to the  lack of proper ventilation and to its location beside a horse
stable.  Two hours later, a police car from the Maadi police station
arrived and took him to the station where he was re-detained in a room at
the second floor beside a toilet.  There were three other people detained,
sleeping on the floor, hands tied to their backs, and signs of torture were
visible on their bodies.  After two hours of illegal detention, an officer
summoned him and told him that there were fine rulings of LE 680 against
him, and that they were for public utility infringements related to a shop
owned by Hafez Mohammed Saeed.  In spite of the clear difference between
the two names, Hafez Abu-Se'da paid the fine, and was released at 8:30 p.m.

It must be noted that the illegal detention for four hours and a half of
the EOHR Secretary General took place few hours after the EOHR had issued a
report entitled "Death in Silence and Seclusion".  The report monitors and
documents the violation of the rights of prisoners in Egyptian prisons. 
The EOHR fears that this measure against a human rights activist may be a
prelude to more arbitrary measures against the organization in order to
undermine its leading role in disclosing and confronting human rights
violations, and in defending and reinforcing human rights and basic
freedoms in Egypt.

Other EOHR Press Releases
EOHR || Human Rights in Egypt

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