Derechos Human RightsReport

Violence in the Egyptian Countryside



Violence in Egypt's countryside relating to the implementation of law 96 of 1992

This report details the extensive level of violence in Egypt's countryside relating to the implementation of law 96 of 1992. It covers the violence for the period 1998-1999. This violence that has led to at least 107 deaths and 565 injuries is extensive. Contrary to the view expressed by state controlled media and the Ministry of Agriculture the levels of violence relating to the implementation of the Act has not subsided. Indeed there is strong evidence, documented by LCHR that the violence used by security forces to ensure the implementation of the act has increased. Oppostition to the Act has also been maintained though it has not taken the form of the mass organised protest that emerged during the transition period. At the time many farmers and dispossessed have challenged the law and the actions of the security forces and land owners in the courts. They have also sought to use local forms of protest vis a vis landowners and Governorate authorities.

The most noteworthy feature of the way in which the Act has been enforced has been the continued abuse of farmer human rights, of increasingly institutionalised used of torture, beatings and unlawful imprisonment of tenants who have had the temerity to challenge Law 96.

This report documents the level of human rights abuse, of the widespread scandal of violence promoted by security forces, of the collusion between landowners and police and the increasing use by landowners of militias and armed thugs to intimidate and beat tenants. The level of mistrust in the security forces and the level of corruption felt by farmers were extensive.

In addition this report highlights that Law 96 has opened a Pandora's box of claims and counter claim relating to ownership and control of many types of landholding and not just tenanted land. This report documents nine types of conflict, expulsions contested ownership rights Awgaf endowed disputes Agrarian Reform Disputes, Alluvial land disputes, conflicts relating to dwellings on farmlands, boundary disputes, irrigation disputes and violence relating to the increased impoverishment of farmers including murder and livestock theft.

Table one summarises the violence.

Violence in the Egyptian Countryside 1998-1999

Violence in Egypt's countryside in the two years between 1998 and 1999 can be categorised into two kinds. The first is more linked to expulsion of tenants from the land and more general concentration of ownership rights and violence related to changes in living conditions and access to resources beyond the issue of land alone.

Expulsion of tenants from the land

The first and probably the easiest violence to document relating to the land act of 1992 is where tenants have been forced to leave their tenancies early January 1998. In El-Dakahleya police forces terrorised 150 tenant farmers in El-Gandi manor which lies in Al-Sabaria area of Sherbeen. The police began a campaign of forced expulsions following the orders from the new land owner, who refused to renew the tenancy contracts with the farmers. He also refused to attend any reconciliation committee as the law stipulated. In addition to the violence committed by the police the owner hired the services of some bullies, who conducted many violent acts against the local farmers. The combined effort of police and local thugs included stopping the flow of irrigation water to local wheat fields.

The farmers asked the owner to rent the land for 2,300 LE per feddan but he refused alleging that he will cultivate it with vegetable instead of wheat. The detained farmers included: Abdul-Basst Abu Zeaida, Abdul-Razak Abu Zeadia, Al-arabi Safwit AbuZeadia, Gaber Mohamed Sjbara , Abdul- Razek Hassan El-Kenani, Ibrahim El-Sayed Hassan, Kamal Ali Shama, Hassein Aqail Shama, Mohamed Abdul-Wahab Moustif, Rabie Mohamed Abdul-Wahab, El-Re'fah Mohamed El-Saraji, Arafat Mohamed Abdul-Mahgouib, Badawi Abdul-Wahab Shama , Ramadan Mohamed El-Mattuli, El-Sayed Moustfi El-Geligi, Mohamed Mohamoud Abu Zaid, Hassan Mohamed AbuZaid, Salah Zedan, Abdo Masoud Abou Uff, Shokeri Mohamed El-Salammi, Shames Abdul Aziz Saliman , Abdul-Baset Abuo Zeadi and Mohsen Abdul-Baset Abou Zeada.

In response to the police actions and those of local hired thugs the LCHR submitted a petition, No 856, to the public prosecution office. In its petition the LCHR urges the public presecution office to investigate these events and to release the detained people mentioned above.

The LCHR also received complaints from Ahmed Mohamed Gada, Mohammed Sayed Salan and Mohamed Abdfukl-Hade Ghandor. Their complaints indicate that Fakous district police detain Mohamed Beshara Hassan at the police headquarters to force them to hand over the land they rented to Lutfy Mohamed Lutify . When he refused, police abused his human rights by torturing him. The same farmer was later summoned by El-Akadda police station to force him to hand over the land in which he built his house. In its regard the LCHR has filed a complaint to the Public prosecutor asking him to take necessary legal procedures against those who hurt this farmer and to release him immediately. The petition submitted to public prosecutor, no 49/98 dated January 1,1998. As a result , the report later completed with Mohamed Beshara Hassan by the police agent Mohamed Samy Gharab of Fakous police station . However, when the Center lawyers examined the Fakous prosecution report, the LCHR found that the police agent who complied the report had included a false statement not given by Mohamed Beshara Hassan. Accordingly, the Center lawyer made a report on the subject to public prosecutor. The report registered under No 1487/98. The investigation is still pending.

Finally, the Center sent a legal warning letter on 1/10/98 to the owners asking them to receive their quota in the land yield for 1998. The letter indicates that if they fail to comply with this warning within a period of three days from the date of receiving it , the farmers will sell the crop yields. It also stated that the owners in receiving their shares must provide farmers with a signed receipt.

In the same regard, on July 27 19998, four unemployed men attacked a farmer in El-Kanater. They used switchblade knives to force him to sign blank cheques. This was intended to force the farmer to evacuate the land he rented from the owners.

On April 24, 1999, a force comprising auxiliary and marine policemen attacked the houses of 560 families in a southern Port Said village. In carrying out what they claimed to be a Governors order they devastated the dwellings of the whole area. They have also humiliated women, children, and elders and burnt their fields besides confiscating many of their belongings. When some of the inhabitants tried to inquire about the reasons behind the police attack, tens of them were arrested and tortured at a prison in South Port Said. It was a clear signal to villagers that they must not argue with government orders. Ali Salah one of the effected farmers commenting on the violent event noted: 'From a time ago, we have managed to reclaim some the dry parts of Al-Manzala lake land.' Salah added that many crops like cotton and rice we have managed to cultivate here successfully. He affirmed that they are the owners of this land. 'We have all the documents that prove our possession of this land'. We have the right, therefore, according to the law to use this land he added. 'Surprisingly, we lately come to know about the Minister of Agriculture decree No 28/88 that offered the co-operative society a share in the State owned reclaimed land'. When the villagers enquired further about this it appeared to be completely false and that on paper the land had been transferred to some senior government officials and parliament members. Making use of their influence to the province governor, they have managed to have a decree giving them the right to strip the lands belonging to the farmers at this area. When the farmers objected to the police executing this infamous decree, they were severely beaten and tortured in the police station. They were forced to sign documents indicating that they had no rights in the land. Furthermore, they forcibly collected all the farmers documents relating to their houses and land effectively making them homeless.

Mohamed Mohamed Ali one of Al-Basher el-Gouany and El-Saqaa villagers affirm that the police campaign targeted the innocent and children. The police burnt houses, destroyed all the farms, and forced farmers to quit an entire area for the benefit of the province elite who were said to have received permission from these fake societies. Ali added that they have filed a lawsuit with the Court of Administrative judiciary of the State Council against Port Said governor, Agriculture Minister, Superintendent of Port Said south district police. They accused these officials of wreaking havoc in their lives and destroying their children's future.

One of the victims, Nasser Abou Salah said that he has been exposed to the most horrible kinds of torture, when the police surprisingly attacked the area. He said that they forced him to quit his land at gunpoint and tear gas was thrown at him and other villages to disperse them from the area of their tenanted land. Abou Salah noted, 'how can we leave a land that we survived in for more than 40 years'? That was the question which caused many to suffer at the hands of the police who stand accused of widespread abuse of human rights and torture. The police beat Abou Salah and used electric shock s applied to the villagers bodies. The villagers were genuinely unable to explain how such actions could take place in a country that proclaimed the supremacy of the law and protection of human rights? Following receipt of information on this incident the LCHR called on the Interior Mnister to investigate this issue and to punish accordingly officers involved in human right abuses.

Two police officers and 12 conscripted policemen were injured on June 22, 1999, in Sanours district Fayyum province as farmers attacked them. Investigations showed that a police force belonging to Fayyum police were ordered to move to Abdul Kareem manor to enable Mrs. Aida Ibrahim control an area of nine acres of farming land. This followed a court ruling allowing her access to previously rented land. While they were at the manor, three of the tenants objected to police action and some of their relatives were involved in a fight with them. Tenants used sticks and stones during the fight with the police that ended in injuring of Col. Police Sayed Abdul Ghfaar, superintendent of Sanours police station, Police Cap Taha Read, and 12 other policemen. Two of the farmers were also injured and rushed to hospital: nine other farmers were arrested and charged with resisting an authority in duty and illegal gathering.

On January 22, 1999 in el-Kagoug district of Kom Umbo, Upper Egypt province of Aswan, a dispute erupted between the area's farmers and the Authority of State Assets. That happened after the authority had threatened that it would remove their plantations of the farmers and uproot the palm dates planted 150 years ago. The Co-operative Society of the area and the branch of the agricultural development bank ceased co-operation with the farmers. This was despite the fact that the farmers had made regular payments to the Assets Authority thereby meeting their obligations for renting their lands and many other obligations until 1997. In addition, the co-operative society ceased their possession contracts without giving understandable reasons. Recalling their grievance to the LCHR the farmers said that they had received orders to appear at the police station to receive a warning letter sent by the Assets authority. While they were there the officials tried to force them to sign a document claiming that they rescinded the land at a public auction on September 8,1998. In addition, they were asked to evacuate the land within a week from the date of receiving the warning.

The whole issue started when Aswan province declared that it intends to set up a food security project over an area of 170 acres in Kum Umbo district. However, when the investor awarded the execution of the project came to receive the land he discovered it was 100 acres only. For seeking a way out of this embarrassing situation, agriculture administration, and State Assets authority thought of seizing 70 acres from the farmers' lands at the project area. This was under the pretext that the farmers would not discover who could support their claim if there was any. One of these farmers, called Ahmed Said Omer, when informed about the provinces intention suffered a heart attack and died instantly. The LCHR affirms that this land was bequeathed to the farmers from their forefathers heritage. In addition they shouldered the responsibility of more than 1000 related people. Following that, farmers sent faxes to the President, the Ministry of Agriculture, Aswan governor, and Prime Minister. In their faxes they said: 'We are the sons of El-Kagog village, Kum Umbo district of Aswan province. We were cultivating the land adjusting to that allocated for establishing of Aswan new food security project, which inaugurated in 1986 for serving the province needs. The project was actually located at the farming basin No. 11, known as Al-Gable. Unfortunately, the project dead in bud and its land was later sold out. Therefore, an area of 170 acres were offered for an investor to establish a new project in the same area'. They added that when this investor to take over the land, the authority found that it was short in area than the one planned in paper. They unjustly alleged that the farmers neighboring the project land had usurped part of the land. All this happens at the time the officials known that those farmers were paying the rents and other fees on this land regularly for 60 years now. They also aware the farmers have all documents that prove their possession of this land. Moreover, the district police have recently threatened to destroy these farmers' plantations, if they did not obey the orders to evacuate the land. Haj Abdual Razik Yassin one of the effected farmers said: 'We are cultivating this land from 200 years or more. We inherited it from our grandfathers and reclaimed it with our money and blood. We are the ones dealing with the cooperative society and the agricultural bank and on top of that the land is now cultivated to very important crops. We are not going to leave it and will protected it by our souls, because it all what we own in this life'. He wondered where all the families that care for more than 1000 people would go? He concluded saying that they have complained for all the officials concerned even the administrative supervision. Meanwhile Kum Umbo agricultural department has concluded an inspection report on el-kagoug project land on January 10, 1998. A report was written following a meeting of a committee that included agricultural engineers, director of food security and farm mechanization and Kum Umbo local council chairperson. However, the farmers were surprised at what they saw as the committees mishandling of farmer interests. They, therefore, decided to sue the authority of State Assets before State Council to stop immediately the decisions taken by Aswan Governor and the director general of the General Authority of Land Agrarian. Their suit carried number 325/7/J and was filed in the name of Abdul Hamed Abeeda Ahmed, Sane'a Mohammed Ibrhim, Mohammed Ba'e el-Din and Moustafa Ibriham Abdulla. The family of the late Ahmed Said Omer sent an appeal to the President to allow them to remain in the land: his family, five children had no other source of living. Haj Mohmoud Ali Mohammed one of the area' s residents said: 'We will never quit the land which we reclaimed by our money and blood and in which we have spent all our life. The land is now planted to Alfa-Alfa, and palm dates. How could the investor evict us out of it? Sanea Mohammed Ibrahim one of the complainants said that she and her boys have reclaimed this land and paid their rent regularly. They had asked the director of State Assets authority to take necessary legal procedures to protect the interests of these farmers. That in order to protect these farmers livelihood and preserve the present available farming lands at the province. It is of the Centers opinion that finding an immediate solution for the problem of the adjusting land to their farms would be the only solution for ending the ordeal of these farmers.

In Ashamon, a tension in relations between landlords and tenants escalated during early May last year. This was the result of police action to expel 100 farmers from their rented lands. That despite the inability of the land claimant to prove his ownership of this lands.

Additional recorded disturbances occurred in El-Saad and El-Tafatesh and El-Barania where 200 farmers refused to hand over an area of 150 acres to the owner, despite the police continuous pressure on them. The very same act repeated many times during early months of 1998. Also in Ashamon, farmers warned about the adverse consequences that would result from forcing tenants to sign blank cheques for landowners. These cheques made by owners to guarantee that the farmers will remove them from the lande at any time they want.

On June 9, 1999, Shebeen Al-Qanater prosecution referred Ismail Ahmed Ibriham, the murderer of his father, to Criminal Court. All started when the police were tipped off that Ahmed Ibrahim Ismail, 55 was found dead at a farm. Investigation later revealed that the son, Ismail was behind the killing. It also showed that the son smashed his father head after the later has rented out a piece of land without taking his opinion. The son was yearning to cultivate this land himself. Police later arrested the murderer who detained for further investigation.

Contesting land ownership

The second most common form of violence following implementation of the land act of 1992 has been conflicts generated over ownership rights. Police forces have continued their direct intervention policy as they attacked the houses of the Hassein manor, Teliga and Kafr Saqqer on February 2, 1998 to enforce a rule of a first degree court regarding a plot of a disputed land. Police enforced their presence by using tear gas and firearms that led to the death of a man called Ahmed Mohammed Abdou, 35 , who was on his way to his farm that neighbored the disputed land.

The police referred Abdou to Al-Zagazig teaching hospital, which refused to receive him because he was dead on arrival. Later, the police sent his body to the nearby Al-Ibrahimia hospital. The victim brothers come to know about their brother's death only when they visited him at Al-Ibrahimia hospital. Police avoided spreading news of the mans death by blocking the way of his brothers as they tried to return from hospital and detained them and badly treated them.

The LCHR filed a complaint to the Public Prosecution office (No 3202/97), accusing the head of Al-Ibrahimia police station of maltreating the brothers of the dead person and humiliating them.

This summary humiliation and mistreatment of farmers is extensive across Egypt. On 8 November, 1998 for instance, the police chief of Cattier district of El-Gharbia province summoned 14 farmers of El- Saria El-Koubra and arrested them. This was to force them to evacuate the land they cultivated. During their detention the farmers were exposed to many inhuman acts including torture. During this time also one of the farmers was hit by a car No 27875 who was later referred to hospital in a serious conditions. Zaghalul after admission at hospital entered on a hunger strike to protest the tyrannical acts of police and their siding with the interest of land owners.

On other developments, the head of police station of El-Fashia , Mohomudia district, Beharia, arrested seven farmers of El-Sitomeya manor on 18/11/1998. Among these detained farmers was Mohammed Muslim, Ahmed Abdul-Hai, Saad Mohammed Ibrahim, and El-Shahat Gadalla. All were beaten and badly treated at the hands of police . This is was only to meet the wishes of the some land ownership claimants, whom frequently put pressure on farmers to quit their lands even though this was land belonging to Endowment Ministry. The owner, in other development, filed a lawsuit against them. The court heard the case ordered assigning of an expert to unveil the misconduct staged against farmers. Although the case is still before the court, police forces attacked the farmers to oblige them to evacuate the land or sign concession documents for the interest of the claimants.

On September 1998, a row erupted again between the farmers in one hand and Al-El-faqi family on the other as police were preparing to hand over the land claimed by Al-elfaqi. Moreover, the village's natives sympathized with tenant farmers situation.

All that happened on December 11, when some members of Al-Faqi family started to warn tenant farmers to immediately evacuate the land lie in Naggetti village. As the farmers refused their warning, one of the owners called Tark farowk el-Faqi make a report with Taala police station. He was also made a similar report on September 10,1998, under number 4815/98

In this report, El Faqi stated that Faruk el-Faqi family own a land in el-Naggatti village, Shaben El-Koum. The area of this land is 15 acres. It was rented according to Agrarian Reform law to some farmers from Kamshamsh village. After the end of the period given by law 96 /92 these tenant farmers have handed over the land to us. We, therefore, signed with them new contracts according to law 96 for one year, that should end by the end of the farming season 97/98. However, we later informed that some tenants started to plant the land without a permission from us . Therefore, we are asking the authority concerned -- police-- to take necessary action to enforce the law.

Based on this report, large police force on September 11 attacked the village and arrested the following people it is also noted that some vigilantes were hired by landonwers to force farmers to obey the police: Ragab Salim Salaam Abdul-Ela ,37. Abdul- Salaam Saad Abdul-Salaam, 40. Yassein Moustaf El-Feidy ,50 Fathi Mohammed el-Sayed Kiejer, 29. Moufta abdul-Azeem Ghanem, 50.

Following arrest the farmers were surrounded by bullies. They also found their animal stands destroyed, and large parts of their crops damaged. Despite all these damages the farmers kept calm to avoid any tension with Elfaqi family member, who were longing to humiliate them further. Moreover the bullies started shooting towards their houses, which forced the natives to seek refuge at the nearby fields. After a while the farmers gathered at the disputed land at El-Naggetti village and held one of the bullies. Many fights took place between the farmers and the vigilante bullies which would have led to many casualties, if the police had not interfered.

The police forces in this case arrested both the owner and tenants and referred them to prosecution. On September 14.1998 Prosecution visited the site of the accident and took notice of all the damages and collected other evidences. The prosecution later ordered the release of the farmers and their relatives in bail of their residence. He also released the owners and their bullies in bail of large sums of cash. The case is registered under number 864/98/ Shabeanel-Koum, but the cases still open for further investigations.

On 10/5/1999, more than 40 families became homeless at Kafr el- Dawar local council that after their lands of 274 acres were confiscated by what is called Daul Aurbuia for Animal Wealth society. That happened despite many ministerial decrees, that have the power of the law issued to stop this action.

Hamid Khairlla one of the small holder farmers at the area says that 40 the families of the area were surprised Darul Aurubia for Animal wealth society claiming possession of their land. Kharulla added that the society, which had many members that were senior officials at the area, claimed to they have bought this land from the agriculture ministries lands fund since 1987 totalling 2904 acres. He added that a legal battle has later run between the two parties. The effected farmers were after the illegibility of the selling made by Ministry of Agriculture's land fund. That because the law prohibited selling the land of agrarian reform and that confiscated according to various law of confiscation. In addition, they also supported their claim by the republican decree barring any deal on lands after the date of October 9, 1987. Actually, the 40 families have succeeded in securing a first-degree court rule that proved their ownership of their lands. Moreover, the society appealed against this verdict and managed to obtain a rule abolishing the first-degree court rule. That happened though the society chairman has officially confirmed that the lands of these farmers are not included in the area sold to the society according to form No 7 endorsed by Kafr el-Douar agrarian reform directorates. Dispute that police have practice more pressure on the farmers since 1990 to force them evacuate the land for the society. In doing that they arrested many farmers to enable the society complete land confiscation.

To prove their rights, effected farmers have made many complaints to officials at various levels, starting from the President of the Republic to the Ministry of Agriculture. Moreover, the outcome of these complaints was so strange. The farmers surprised on January 14, 1993, by a decree that issued by the General Authority for Land Agrarian No 17/1993, offering the society an area of 139 acres and allowing the those possessing land within the allocated area to remain in their lands and became member in this society. The other remaining 134 acres of the area according to this decree were remained under the authority control until its ownership revealed. The irony is that at the time the authority sold the land for the society at LE 225 per acre, it refused to sell it at LE 5,000 per acre for farmers.

This matter has raised many suspicious and doubt regarding the acts of some of the authority employees dealing with this issue. The situation worsened when the society asked the police to assist in evacuating the farmers from the land. The police intervention had led to many casualties among farmers and policemen following their confrontations last January. Moreover, as the society remains adamant on its opinion, the authority of agrarian reform issued the decree No 5/97, which affirmed that the authority had no available assets at the disputed area. It has also sent an official letter on April 23, 1999 to minister of interior and the security chief of Al-Beharia province asking them to suspend any taking any action regarding this dispute for a period of three months. That is in aim to probe this issue anew by the ministry of agriculture's legal department.

On the other hand, following a thorough search, study, and investigation with the personnel of the public notary and survey departments, it appeared that the society has actually managed to register the land. That happened though the disputes evolving it have not yet settled. Therefore, a memo sent to Minister of Agriculture on these new findings. His Excellency accordingly issued his decree No 268 for 98. This decree ordered the removal of encroachments made on this area of 135 acres by Darul Aurbuia society. It also ceased the contract signed with the society on the area of 139 acres.

In due course, Agrarian reform authority on 20 February sent a warning letter to public notary office to stop registering procedures of any selling contract concerning any plot of land at this area. Strangely enough, Darul Aurbuia society until now refuses to obey this decree though one year ago has elapsed since it has been issued. It allegedly says the decree is legal since no court issued it and it only a mere administrative order. In response, Land Center call upon minister of interior and all the officials concerned at the province to take the necessary steps to put this decree into action so as to protect the rights of these citizens.

-The land disputes also extended to Sihouaj village. This village on 13 November witnessed a fight between Khalif and Mousaid families over the ownership of a plot of land, that ended in injuring of a large number of people of both families.

Worthy mentioning that the land dispute between the two families started since the beginning of last year ,exactly with the beginning of implementing law No 96. All happened when one of Saad family claims that he bought seven acres from a woman at the village . From here the dispute started to expel the tenant farmers from this land. The dispute later seriously developed to extend that the claimant brought bullies from Cairo to fight Khalif family members. The land claimant also made reports with the police, but these were ordered to be kept by investigation and prosecutor

The dispute after that taken to courts, but Saad family did not adhere to the rules and continued create problems at the village until a big fight took place between them again, which necessitated a continuous police presence at the village to preserve order. Police presence at the village ended on 15/12/1998.

Also the traditional reconciliation council that was held to solve the problem failed. This council comprised the village chief and some other senior individuals of the village. Until the end of 1999 the situation remained tense as both families are still exchanging accessions and making many police reports against each other.

The reports are also are being made for claiming that the lands lie within the precinct of Sihouaj village. The document available indicate these lands were owned by a number of Bushes who rent it to farmers of the village. Among tenants were Ahmed Mohamed Khalif and Abddul Ra'ouf Mohamed Khalif who rented an area of 10,7 in Mubarak basin 1 plot No 6. Ra'ouf Mohamed Khalif himself was renting an area of 2,7 acres through a registered contract signed between him and the land owners ,namely Sameh Assyawi Zaid and its contract was documented at the cooperative under No 329/1957

On February 15,1965, the two tenants made a deal of exchanging with the landowner, according to which Ahmed Khalif handed over an area of 1,6 acres, which he was renting in Mubarak basin No 1 .Therefore, The two parties agreed in ending the renting contract that early signed between them and Ahmed become a sole owner of the land. Likewise, the land of Abdul Ra'ouf become hi own.

Surprisingly, Mohamed Ahmed Saad and new claiming the ownership of an area 11 acres in this land, which was located in Mubarak basin No1. Actually, the land being claimed by Saad included these owned by both Ahmed and Abdul Ra'ouf Khalif. Regrettably, many tenant farmers there handed over the land to Saad, except Ahmed and Abdul Ra'ouf Khalif.

Saad, in response, filed a lawsuit before a court seeking issuance of a rule to enable him regain control over the claimed land. The lawsuit that bear No 2778/97 urgent /Ashmoun, was rejected by court for being the case is not of its specialization. Then , Saad in calibration with Mrs. Waffa Abdul Al-Halim sake the assistance of local council. as both alleged that Ahmed and Abdul Ra'ouf Khalif are hiring this land they planting now from Samah Assywi. They also claimed that the land sold by its real owner to Mohamed Ibrahim Fargg, the husband of Mrs. Waffa, who later inherited the land after the death of her husband. Mrs. Waffa later sold this land to Mr. Mohammed Mohammed Saad and that deal contract has registered with the co-operative society under No 494 dated 28/8/1997. According to this contract they request the local area council to interfere to hand over them the land .

Despite the 'well-netted' story told by them, it seems they later disagreed over certain issues. This looks true as Mrs. Waffa filed another lawsuit, under No 3521 /98 Sheban El-Koum against Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed Saad requesting him to hand over an area of 2,7 acres that locats Mubarak basin No 1 in Sahurj village. Albait the fact that the land is still being controlled by Khalif brothers and not by Saad.

A great deal of confusion appears in her position regarding these issues. She claimed for instance that according to a traditional deal contract concluded on 1/9/1997, the defendant sold a piece of land to the applicant for 170,000 LE. Therefore, the court announced a hearing session on 12/10/1998 Mrs. Waffa also filed an expulsion lawsuit against Abdu Ra'fou Khalif and his brother. The lawsuit bears No 2454/ 98.

At the same time , Mrs. Hekmat Mohamed Ibriham made the report No 1457 /1998 administrative /Ashmoun against Mohammed Ahamed Saad for not to oppose her in using her land but the report kept on 28/2/98 .

Away from the courts, there were many violent conflicts that happened between the member of the two families. For instance some members of the Saad family filed a lawsuit against members of the Khalif family accusing them of issuing false cheques. The lawsuits filed were as follows No 2 2647/97 /Ashamoun against Ahmed Mohamed Masoud, No 22646 /97 against Abdul Ra'ouf Mohamed Masoud, No1077/98 against Shams El-Ddin Abdul Fa'ouf, No 1076/98, against Ahmed Mohammed Khalif, and the last lawsuit No 1074/ 98, was filed by Fared Abdul-Ghani Ahmed Khames against Abdul Fa'ouf Ali Masoud.

In a development related to application of law 96, a dispute erupted between El-Shawikhia and Saker families, both come from Warraq El-Arab district of Imbaba, Giza province on February 1998. The fight actually was over the ownership of a plot of land of 21 karats that lies in El-Taualia basin at El Bargeal district, Giza. According to the records, El-Shawikhia sold this land to some members of Saker family in 1958 according to primary contract . Therefore, Saker family remained the possessors of this land till the Oct. 1,1997.

But after the application of law No 96, some members of El-Shawikhia family managed to obtain a possession card from the area cooperative society, with which they later made a report at El-Warraq police station. The report alleged that Saker family usurped this land from them. So, without conducing a proper investigation or seen the land in nature the report No 537/Administrative/ El-Warraq was verified by police and later referred to court. Since the investigators ignored seeing the land in nature and conducting a proper investigation, the court decision of owning the land has issued without determining the borders of the disputed land . Besides these deficiencies Saker family rejected the court rule as they have all document that proves their possession of this land since 1958.

Violence continued between the two families. Among the resulting casualities were

Sayed Ghazali, 60, who sustained a fatal injury in the head Mohamed Sayed Ghazali, 35, his left and right arms broken and injuries in the face. The chief of Saker family, Mahrows, 30, sustained many injuries. Anwar Saudi Saker, 35, varied injuries .

In addition police forces arrested a number of individuals of both families to avoid repeating of violence. Three of them referred to public prosecutor who ordered them to remain in custody pending further investigation.

Many land disputes emerged following the land act whereby individuals claimed ownership rights on what was perceived to be unregistered land. This invariably led to land seizure through the use of force. On August 16, 1998, a citizen was attacked by while building a room on his land. This happened in El- Gabana village in Assiut province. The police report on the case said that both of Ahmed Hassein Salem and his boys, and Mohammed Bakr and other attacked Yahy Shaouk. They also destroyed the building he made in the land, which they later harrowed. However, the problem ended after the intervention by a responsible official who managed to hold a reconciliation agreement between the two parties. The agreement enforced Ahmed Hessin not to repeat attacks on Shouki property again.

Yet, despite the agreement reached, the other party remained opposed to Shouki and his family members. One time they stopped their tractor in front of Shouki as he was ploughing his field and threatened him with knives. Following that Shouki made a report at the police station and the office in charge visited the site of the accident and found the tractor. But the police men who accompanied the officer threatened the tractor drivers to humiliated if he stood as a witness. But the man put his statement on the report bared No. 500/98 /Administrative.

The same people have stolen the maize crop of Shouki and broken his store doors. But when Shouki tried to report the incident at police station of Beni Hussein the local guards there severely beat him. He went after that to the teaching hospital to prove his injuries and identified them in reports No 5814 and 2452 /Assiut.

Also, on January 19 ,1998, both of Abdul- Rahim Ahmed, Medhat Mohammed, Abdul- Al-Mouiz Abdul-Sabour attacked Magedy Yahia Shouki and forced him to sign a blank cheque. They gave it to someone called Mohammed Abu Ala to finalise the dispute over an irrigation motor. The injured man made a report at a hospital that proved his injuries. This report indicates some back injuries and chest in addition to some serious scratches in the face and hand. This is report No 571/1998 Assiut

Later Abdul Rahem Mohammed Ahmed and many other attacked Shouki House on January 24,1998, and took by force the car No 7871, Assiut. They also shot Yahi Shouki and killed one of his livestock besides destroying all his house belongings. A report on the accident made at police and registered under No 599/ Assiut

It seems clear that the police officer is conspiring with the culprits as he released them without taking their statements regarding the case of the cheque. The prosecutor had ordered their release in this case if they have no other cases, but the offices decided to release them. This happened on February 14,1998, which means the passage of 25 day from the date of the first report.

In yet another case on September 10,1998, some members of Abdual Kader Hassan Hamam family and others occupied a piece of land of 10 Karats belong to their cousin Ahmed Housni Hamam, 51. This land located at Dahshour area of Al-Badr Sahin. Following that a fight erupted between the members of the family, during which firearms were discharged leading to the fatal injury of Ahmed Housni Hamam.

When his brother Sayed reported the accident to police he was surprised to find that he himself was accused of beating Ramadan Abdual Kader. The police thus arrested him and later referred to prosecution who ordered his release in bail of his own responsibility. The police did not therefore interfere to end the dispute among the members of this family.

Following that the member of claimants themselves put the rule in action without adhering to any legal procedures. So that in a accompany of 20 armed men up rooted the crops planted to the land and planted new ones. At this point the second party presented a petition to the court questioning the execution of the judgement.

On 29th of February, 1999 in Dakahlia province Ramadan Sayed Ibrahim, 32, a laborer was killed after being shot dead by Ali el-Sayed Alaam. According to the available information at the time the killing was due to a land dispute between the victim and the killer, Ali el-Sayed Alaam, 40. As the dispute developed Alaam shot the laborer who was killed instantly? The police arrested the culprit and referred him to prosecution that ordered his detention for four days pending further investigations.

One person was killed and eight seriously injured when five armed farmers in Sahel Salim district in Delta attacked the taxi transporting them on April 7, 1999. The preliminarily information made available for Land Center showed that the accident occurred while the taxi No 6202 was on the Sahel Salim road. The commuters surprised by five persons indiscriminately shooting them from different directions. It added that Hassan Sayed Mohamed, 35, a farmer has killed instantly and another eight persons, three of them women, were seriously injured. All injured were rushed to a hospital in a critical conditions among which were Rawhiya Mohamoud Zaref, Akbal Maher Ali, and Manal Abdou Khalefia. Investigations in accident indicated that the victims were all members of the Khalefa family who have an old dispute over a land ownership with another family called el-Assafery. The disputed plot is located at Sahel Salim farming basin. The persecution later permitted the burial of the dead body and interrogation of the injured persons.

On April 9, 1999, a 19-year- boy was found stabbed to death in a clover field in the Delta province of Mounafiya. Police Investigation showed that the victim, Maher Abdulla Sobehy, 19, a commerce diploma holder, has received many stabs to his body that led to his death. It added that crime was committed after a fight between, Khalid Al-Sayed Abdul Karem, 24, and the victim as the later has reportedly passed through a field of clover owned by the killer. As the fight was going on, Abdul Karem fatally stabbed Sobehy several times and escaped the scene. A manhunt later staged by the police and ended in arresting the culprit. The persecution of Berkat El-Sabia' has also ordered the forensic examine the dead body and the detention of the defendant four days for further investigations.

On April 17, 1999, two farmers accused of kidnapping and murdering an 8-year old boy. This followed a dispute on the ownership of land between the father of the victim and the culprits. Qous police station received a report from somebody who found a boys dead body at the graveyard area. Following investigation, the police revealed that the body is for a 8 years old boy called Al-Hasseini Fathi Ahmed. It added that Kehaly Mohamed Ibrahim and his brother Hashem were behind the murder. Further investigations affirmed that the two men have kidnapped the boy as he was back home from school and killed him. This was a revenge killing because the boys father was in conflict with the murderers over ownership of a plot of land. Both culprits were referred to persecution where they confessed to their crime. The persecution accordingly ordered their detention for further investigation.

On May 1, 1999, one farmer killed and six injured in a fight between two related families following a dispute over the ownership of five karats plot of land, in Upper Egypt province of Bani Suif. Information received by Land Center in this respect indicated that a fight between the two families occurred in Hagger Buni Salman village and that Gamal Abdul Hamid Hamzzia, 30, a farmer was killed besides the injury of six other people. The information added that the fight erupted as the parties failed to agree on dividing an area of five karats inherited land. According to this information the dispute over this land involved Gamal and his brother in one hand and Gamal and his cousin Ali Abdulla, Abasa, and Asheree on the other hand. As they failed to reach a solution with him they decided to get rid of him by beating him with a cutlass that led to his instant death. Other six members of both families were injured during the fight. Police arrested all the people involved in this fight and referred them to prosecutor who ordered their detention pending further investigations.

On May 3, 1999, a student attempted to kill his brother, an accountant with the Sugar factory of El-Mahmoudia, using an unlicensed pistol. The victim and his brother were in dispute over a piece of land they inherited from their father. The dispute between them has later led to a fight during which the victim has sustained a gun shot and rushed to a hospital in serious conditions. Police later arrested the culprit and referred him to public prosecutor that investigated the case.

Other information received on the case said that, Hashem Mohamed Qurani, an accountant was rushed to Al- Mohamoudia hospital in a critical condition after his brother Ahmed Qurani, an university student, shot him. The fight according to the received information was due to a dispute over a piece of land that they inherited after the death of their father. However, as they could not reach a settlement regarding the division of the land the student bought a pistol, that later appeared to be unlicensed, and shot his brother. The victim was rushed to a hospital in very serious condition.

May 5, 1999, 12 farmers were injured following a fight between families in Al-Sharkia province. Information on the accident said that police received a report from Al-Zaqizek

teaching hospital saying that it had admitted 12 farmers suffering from serious brain injuries and different stabs to their the bodies. Investigations showed that a fight erupted between members of Al-Magharabi and Al-Hafenawi families in which they used hard sticks, cutlass and knives. All that happened after they had failed to reach a compromise on their dispute over a piece of farming land. The investigation also showed that besides the casualties there were seven houses and a café house that were destroyed. It added police forces rushed to the area and arrested 35 persons from both families. Prosecution following investigating the events has decided to detain eight persons and released 27 in cash bail of LE 500 each.

Information made available to Land center showed that on 30 June 1999 one person killed and five others were injured in Abou Qarqus, Upper Egypt province of Al-Minya. The casualties were the outcome of a fierce fight between two families in Balnsouria village of Abou Qarqus, in which automatic machine guns were used during the fighting. Police rushed to the area and arrest six people from both sides. Later the prosecution ordered their detention for further investigations.

In the same way, Hamam Yousif Hamam, one of El-Ghanem district citizens, occupied an area of 19 acres by the assistance of a number of his armed supporters. This area of land belongs to Hoda Ahmed Mohammed and her husband Hassen Khalil and they have built a house and provided it with an electric generator transformer. The invaders attacked the farm after shooting and preventing Hoda's husband from entering the house.

Hoda and her husband reported these vents with police station of El-Ghanam . The report registered under No 1416/98 and another one bare No 1417/98. The first was concerning the shooting of fire and the second was on occupying of the farm land. Following that, influential persons in the area interfered to force Hoda and her husband to write off the police report. Despite the continuous pressure and threats, Huda goes forward to prosecution to complete her statement in the case. Mohammed Yousf Hamam and Mahmam Yousif Hamam were later arrested.

On June 3,1999, a complaint received from a citizen called Nagah Ibrahim Salim from Al-Sharkia province indicated that his land being forcibly taken from him that dispute the many court rules issued to empower him control it. According to Salim, this story dated back to 1968. At this time he surprisingly attacked by some armed persons while at his farmland that all planted to citrus. He added that this land of 11,5 karats is his own and it registered under No 415 with Al-Zouamel cooperative society. Moreover for being those people not convinced and notorious, Salim went to the courts to retain his rights. He actually later obtained a court verdict that empowering him to control his land. The verdict took code No 2121 for 1986/ Civil/ Zagazeg and was executed on September 30, 1995. The attackers following that disappeared for some time until handing and taking over procedures are ended. However, they later shot fire on him in a sign that they are still around and that police did not protect anyone against their intentions. Again Salim fled his land and sent many appeals and complaints to many officials but all were in vain. He again tried seeking his safety at the courts, believing that only through law he would retain his lost rights. It was for the second time that a court issues a rule enabling him control his land. Nevertheless, police have guaranteed that he would not be a target for the land gang any more.

On June 8, 1999, it was reported that a woman in Kafr Al-Zaat, in Delta province of Gharbia has suffered from many illegal acts committed by a group of bullies. The report added that this gang, who also receives the support of the village's chief, is trying to usurp this woman's farmland. Other information available on this case indicated that this woman has received a final court rule empowering her to retain her land. She has repeatedly tried to put this rule in action but she failed. Later when a committee of legal experts came to the village to enable her to retains the land it was prevented by the chief. Because of the committee's failure in it assignment, the land until now is under these peoples control. The woman says that these people have threatened to kill her children in case she did not reach a compromise with them and meet their demands. The fact is these people are protected by Kafr Yaquib chief, one of Kafr Al-Zaat local districts of the Delta Kafr El-Shiekh province. The woman adds that she filed a lawsuit with Tanta court in April 1999. In this suit, she accused the village chief, Makawi Hassan Al-Shazeli, and Ghareb Abou Al-Hassan of trying through using illegal ways to seize her farmland.

The case hearing ended in ruling for her a final verdict. Moreover, the woman said, defendants intentionally have barred me from retaining the land. To make things more difficult, they have misinformed the official authorities that I am not settling permanently at the village, the woman added. She elaborated saying that they have also tried many times to rob my house and that all reported to the area police. The LCHR forwarded the complaint of this woman to His Excellency Minister of Interior and Minister of Agriculture to take necessary steps to protect her right and put rule of law into effect.

The village of El-Hawssalia, Upper Egyptian province of El Minya, has witnessed a brutal murder case. The killing staged at the hands of a school clerk on July 29, 1998 named Saliman Youssif, who reportedly stabbed his brother Hanna Youssf with a knife until he died. The culprit attacked his brothers spouse and caused her many serious injuries. All happened, according to the report, when Saliman went to the village to blame his brother Hanna for not giving him his share in the land he took over after the application of law 96. Unable to understand each other a row erupted between them following which Saliman decided to get ride of his brother. On the day of the accident, Saliman awaited his brother while returning to the village of Mananies and attacked him with a switchblade that instantly led to his death. When Hanna returned to his brother home at El-Manshia, he developed bad tempers and started shooting his brother spouse and a spouse of another brother of him. The victims were seriously injuries and referred to El-Manyia general hospital. Later police arrested the culprit and referred him to the prosecution that ordered his detention pending further investigation.

Disputes related to Awqaf endowed lands

On January 17,1998, the Center received a complaint from some farmers of Ramzy manor, located at Akyad Al-Bahareya Bahari, Fakous local District of Al-Sharkis province. The complaint signed by Ahmed Mohamed Gaad, Mohamed Sayed Salim, Mohamed Abdul-Alhadi Ghandour, stated that the owner of the manor had forced them to quit their rented lands and sign a deed of concession. They added that the owner took this action in cooperation with his manors supervisor, Ahmed Moustaf El-Nagger, the police officer-in-charge of Akyad El-Bahari police station, Police superintend of Fakous district, the area cooperative society chairman and the manager.

Upon receiving this complaint the Center presented petition number 35/98 dated February 24, 1997, to the public prosecution office. In the petition the Center accused both of the land owner and the head of the police station of arresting a number of farmers without any charges in the district headquarters. It added that they have used all various means of pressure to force farmers sign deeds of concession for the interest of the landowner. Moreover the report is still being investigated by Fakous prosecution.

Those arrests included: Mohammedi Abdul Maksoud, Ahmed Ali Namer, Mohammed Abdul Aal, Taha Mohammed Gaad, Samer Abdul El Badei, Mohammed Abdual Hadi, Ali Abdul El-Khaliq, Mohammed Mohammed Gaad, Behaarri Mohamoud Nasr, Al-Sayed Abdul Rahman, Ibrahim Abdul-Khaliq Ibriham.

The Center received another complaint on January 15, 1997, from Ibrahim Abdul-Maguid, Mohammed Abdul Ala Ali, Mohamed Basheri and Hassan Selimi. The farmers who are also from Ramzy manor, reported the arrest of the following persons, Bashara Hassan, Al-Sayed Abdul Magid Mohamed, Nadia Toufiq Ali, Mohamed Assia Mohamed, Mohammedi Abdul Maksoud, Mohammed Mohammed Gaad, Wsayed A bdul Rahman, Ahmed Abdul-Maguid Mohamed Atiat salim Touna Mohmoud Abdul-Aal, Ahmed Mohammed Ibriham, Ahmed Abdul-Maguid, Ibriham Abdul-Maguid, Abdu Alla Abdul-Maguid Amina Salim Faymia Ali Saliuman Mohamed Easa Talb Fazia Abdul Rahman and Mohammed Beshara.

Also, upon receiving their report the Center filed a petition on the subject to the public prosecution office . The Center's petition No. 48 of 1998 dated February 18, 1997 is still being under investigation by Fakous prosecution office.

In another development, some of the manor owner's followers, in an attempt to force farmers to evacuate their lands damaged the main irrigation water pump and blocked its paths by large stones to prevent the supply of water to farmers lands. In the same time, the manor owner has met with the area cooperative society manager, its chairman and the agriculture officer after which they have agreed not to supply any of the tenant farmers with its cultivation needs of seeds unless after he - the tenant farmer - get an approval from the landowner.

Under these unfavorable condition Egypt rural area witnessed many violations of the tenants rights. For instance On February 5,1998 , one landowner, badly and inhumanely humiliated a tenant farmer who refused to evacuate a plot of land he rented from him in El-Genana village of Talkha district, El-Dakahlia province. Unfortunately, the shameful act was conducted under the noose of the police officer in charge of Talkha police station. This very officer not sufficed by the inhuman acts staged at the hand of the landowner ,he also involved in chasing farmers and pressuring them to leave the lands. Worthy mentioning that the 12 acres of lands claimed by this man are belong to the Ministry of Endowment. At the end of 1999 the problem over the ownership of this land was still unresolved.

A dispute over an area of 35 acres in Hayia local district, Sharkia province, has revealed a conspiracy act among the area's police department, endowment authority officials and a number of elite landlords against farmers' interests. The proof is that the police have intentionally ignored a request to investigate into a report made by farmers after their crops have burnt at the hands of bullies. It said that these bullies are working for the descendants of Mohamed Salah who claims the ownership of endowment lands in the area. All that started when the heirs of Mohamed Salah claimed the ownership of 25 acres of the endowment farmland and tried to expel the farmers who cultivated it for tens of years. As a result farmers appealed to police and endowment authority intervention, but none has reacted.

In the other hand, the former chief of Abuo Hattab village of Hayia has asserted that the disputed land is belonging to the endowment authority. He added, according to the 1908-possession search and registered contracts of the endowment with the public notary, the claimants' father was only an agent and not the owner. He elaborated saying that the heirs were illegally collecting land rents from these farmers and they have sold 19 acres for their interests.

Moreover the chief said that he had remitted the rent dues to the authority coffers directly without notifying them and that infuriated the heirs, led them to burn the farmer crops, and threatened to rob their livestock and kidnap their children. These threats were reported to the police station in Hayia and registered in report number 7380 for 1998. They have also polluted the drinking water of Mores water canal that forced farmers to quit the land. This act has also reported to police and registered in January 1999. Despite all these infamous deeds, the province security institutions remained silent. There was no investigation conducted or report written by the security officials at the end of 1999. Similarly the authority of endowment has remained inactive unable to protect its properties in the Sharkia province.

The Land Center urges both the Ministers of agriculture and endowment to personally intervene in this issue to protect State properties from ineligible ownership claimants.

Disputes over Agrarian Reform Farmlands

In other developments police detained tens of farmers for three days at Skarkia during early January 1999. They also forced them to sign documents of reconciliation committees that were formed by the Ministry of Agriculture and cooperative societies of El- Hassina local district. It also noted that those farmers during October 1998 refused to leave their land, estimated at about 200 acres. That happened after they alleged that they had bought them from the Authority of Agrarian Reform in the early 1960s.

The Authority of Agrarian Reform seems to have disregarded this payment and the history of land cultivation by local farmers. It has instead obliged them to accept the decisions made by the reconciliation committees, which has not indicated anything about their ownership rights on these lands.

Qoota Qaroun village , Ebsheway , Al-Fayyum

During 1966 the Agrarian Reform Authority confiscated about 75 feddans and 6 karats owned by the inheritors of Mohamed Amin Wali. This land lies in Ebshewai region. The authority had later distributed this area to 52 farmers in the area. Each farmer got about one feddan and 19 karats. Since that time those 52 farmers became possessors of this land and therefore planted it and dealt with any authorities concerned -- the agrarian society which managed the activities of Agrarian Reform in Ebshewai-- as a real owners of the lands.

In 1986 according to law No 3 of 1986, some farmers asked to buy the mentioned area and paid the 'fees of preconditions' as per the handbook about this area according the operating instructions. According to the first article of law No. 3 of year 1986 they were allowed the ultimate retention of the land that was confiscated. By operating this article the peasantry met all the needed procedures , but the authority neglected their request not giving any legal answer or real justification this was despite the fact that the inheritors of late Mohamed Amin Wali presented an objection that was rejected. It was decided that the authority should continue to manage the land. That made some farmers submit an appeal ,( No. 1062/29 in 1993) to the Supreme Administrative Court .

During this year, the requesters were surprised by Mahmoud Amin Wali , (one of inheritors of late Mohamed Amin Wali )who took procedures to retain this land from their possession on the pretext that he achieved a conciliation with the general authority of agrarian reform , according to the document dated 9/6/1983 . This document stipulated that the authority have released a piece of land of about 75 feddans and 6 karats for the inheritors of late Mohamed Amin Wali , which included the land possessed by the requester without the authority waiting for the result of the appeal submitted in this respect .

The LCHR we noted that the decision of the committee which was appealed , was for the interest of the authority. And since the decision of release was issued and that of the reconciliation with the general authority of agrarian reform the inheritors accompanied by police used all means of violence against the farmers to make them give up the land - without even waiting the final judgments, especially in the existence of circulating suits as we mentioned before. Since the beginning of October, 1997, the security forces violently treated more the 50 farmers and used all means to terrorize them in order to give up the land . This the striking example of what happened when the investigating officer of Ebshewai station -- called Abd el-Fatah in the company of 18 soldiers , six custodians and four patrolmen on the 4th of November went to the houses of the farmers who possessed agrarian reform lands , and broke their house doors and horrified the people inside the village. They also arrested 18 farmers and detained them in the police station . While they were in the police station they were exposed to many violent acts , abuse , beatings , and maltreatment to force them sign new lease contracts for the inheritors of late Mohamed Wali .

The Land Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) filed suit No 673 / 1997 to the attorney general in order to release those farmers .

There are suits still being circulated between the inheritors of late Wali and the farmers, the security forces launched a campaign of collective detention against the tenant farmers and their wives and children . Such actions were repeated more than once since the beginning of October 1997 till now , all to force the farmers to give up the land .

This events were repeated also again in Thursday 6 , November , 1997 when the investigating officers of Ebshewai hung the farmers and lashed them with whips .This resulted in causing many injuries to the farmers, while many of the tenant farmers were exposed to burning by cigarettes, electric shocks. These practices of torturing reached the peak when the floor of the detention rooms were connected to the electricity grid every half an hour , making the detained farmers jump until they were exhausted and fainted then collapsed and went into coma suffering a state of weakness , fatigue and powerlessness .

On the other hand, the wives of those farmers were also detained and claimed that their bodies' sensitive parts have forcibly touched. Therefore the ( LCHR) is pointing out that all the practices of torture including beating , insulting which have been committed against those leaseholds and their wives are unacceptable and severe violations of peoples human rights. These are the reasons which forced the farmers at the end give-up and sign the papers without know its contains. At the end of 1999 there were only eight cases of people who had not signed because they fled from Al-Fayyum .The leaseholds farmers exposed to torture and terrorization were estimated at 48 in Qutta Qaroun village alone , most of these cases occurred on 4-6 November ,1997 .

Wali Mazar village, Ebsheway, Al-Fayyum Province.

The security forces have started to escalate their campaign against the people of Wali Mazar village as from the beginning of October 1997. Their aim is to force them to give up the lands which they hired from the authority of agrarian reform, ( it is similar case of Qutta Qaroun ) . Although the suits are still pending between the inheritors of Wali and farmers who own rights in the land , the security forces used illegal means to force the farmers to leave the land . It is worth mentioning that the security forces in the last week of September detained many of those farmers and practiced more of violations against them and their families.

In response the LCHR delivered two communiqués to the prosecutor general. In response, the officer of Ebshewai stopped the pressure against the farmers since the first week of October . Despite this the sescurity forces returned to detain them again in September 13 1997.

The harassment of farmers in a nearby village called Qutta Qaroun made them sign deeds of concession, by means of torture . The police, in fact achieved success with them. Despite this 'success' in forcing farmers to sign concession documents the abuse of human rights has continued. The LCHR submitted a communiqué on Tuesday 11/11/1997 to the general prosecutor asking him to stop these violations which occurred against the farmers in Al-Fayyum at the hands of the security forces .

The following are the names of the arrested people in Wali Mazar village in 8/11/1997 in Ebshewai police station: Yussif and Attia , Mostafa M. AbdulGalel , Ramadan AbdulSame AbdulRazq , Sayed AbdulGalel , Haeown Abdulfathi Abdulzak, Abdultawib and Rabie Abdulsayed Abdulgalei, Mohamouf Abdulrahaman Morsi , Hussein Mohamed Ali, Mkhtter Abdulazzem ,Yunis Salman , AbdulAtti Mohamed Salim, Ramadan Abdulkhaloq Ibrahim , Ibrahim Abdualla Abdulghafer , Abdulrahaman Ahmed Abdulsamei

On April 9, 1999, a 19-year- boy report killed after being stubbed to death at the hands of clover farmers. Information made available on the incident indicated that the family of the victim and the culprit were in dispute over ownership of a piece of land. Maher Abdulla, 19, and Khalid Abdulkarem, 24 were engaged in fight when Abdulla carelessly passing through the later field of clover. Their fight seriously developed to end in killing of Abdulla and escaping of Abdulkarem who later arrested by the police. After being arrested he referred to Prosecution which ordered his detention for 4 days pending further investigation and also order burial of the dead body.

In 12/5/1998 Re'iffat Sayed Makheal, Abdual Manum Yassen and Eid Araffa Mohame have attacked and equipped a land belonging to someone called Sayed Makein Isaq Guli. The dispute between the two parties centred on the ownership of an area of 2 acres has registration No 2790 and located in basin No 1 of Gazerih of Sharown, Maghagha district, El-Menyia province . .

The land actually belonged to the State Assets Department and Mr. Guli was allowed to benefit from this land according to a primary contract in the 1970s. During the last 25 years Guli reclaimed and cultivated the land and he was also regularly paying its fees to the authority of Agrarian Reform.

However, after the application of law No 97 the first party claimed the ownership of the land. This issue urged Guli to make a report on this events with Maghagha police station. The report bares No 1101/97, was supported by many documents that prove his rights. Among these documents a copy of a letter from the state assets department dated September 15, 1997, indicated the legibility of Mr. Guli to own this land . He also attached a copy of receipt with which he remitted the annual fee at the authority office.

Despite all those facts, the investigation office at Maghagha police station did not recognise him as the real owner, and eventually decided to detain him for three days without even referring him to prosecution

After being released from detention, Guli surprised to found that the claimants already involved in cultivating the land ,and when he tries to enter it they opposed him .

In response, Land center for human rights made a complaint to the public prosecution office in this subject. The petition bear No 14345 dated 10/11/97, however no action has been taken regarding this at the end of 1999.

A report from Giza province on June 12, 1999, indicates that the Agrarian Reform Authority has again sold land of farmers who bought it according to Agrarian reform law of 1956. In doing that the authority once again contravened the law.

A dispossessed farmer reported to the Centre that during 1960s he received a piece of land from the authority. It was of two and quarter acres and its cost at the time was LE 450 to settled installment over a period of twenty years. He added that he built a house on it. After 40 years the Authority returned to him asking for LE 60,000 as price for this land. Another villager called Kamil Qurni Abdul Moutti said that he bought land 15 years ago from a villager who had bought it from the authority with a certified and registered selling contract. He added that the selling contract was endorsed by Qout Al-Qloub Cooperative society and he bought the land to build a house on it. Now the authority asked him to pay the price of this land anew, which meant that he had to pay the price twice. The farmer added that this was unbearable as he is a worker of receiving only LE70 per month and he supports five children. Mohamed Mohmoud abou Darbouya said 'I have inherited one acre after my father who bought from the authority against LE 300 since 1956.' He added they are now requesting him to pay LE 55,000 as a new price for this land. How can I pay a price for a land that I have inherited?

The LCHR has called on Minister of Agriculture to stop all confiscation procedures of farmers lands which have been bought and prices settled hitherto. That is in support of the ministry decisions and those of other responsible officials.

Disputes over alluvial lands.

From Mankabad village of upper Egypt province of Assuit , LCHR received a complaint signed by more than 70 farmers .In their complaint the farmers bitterly expressed their suffering from continuous intimidation and violations that they were exposed to at the hands of senior officials and security personnel. They indicated that intimidation was staged to force them quit an area of 48 acres ,which they had cultivated for more than 40 years as tenant farmers.

The farmers have proved by official documents that they rented these lands from public authority for state estates, but they were surprised to be confronted by a group of people who claimed the ownership of their land. As a matter of fact, because of the malpractice and mismanagement at official levels the newly emerged owner illegally managed to process false ownership contracts and decisions empowered them take control over these lands.

Yet as the LCHR has noted the public authority for state estates has no power to sell the alluvial lands, which according to a decree issued by the Supreme Committee for Policies dated January 17,1978 are considered government owned lands .

The LCHR has filed a lawsuit number 2031/9/q/ administrative/ Assuit, asking for cancellation the decree of these land registration at Assiut official Registration office No 1248/97. The LCHR has also filed an urgent lawsuit number 21 8 for 1998 urging suspension of the administrative decree issued by the Governor of Assuit that stipulated the handing over of the lands its new owners .

As the intimidation and threats increased against the farmers they appealed to the Governor of Assuit who subsequently suspended his previous until the issue is resolved by the Judiciary authority.

Continuing their malpractices and disobeying of their superior s orders Aussit's state estates department refused to comply with the Governor's decision and refused to accept from farmers the lands rents for year 1998. To defend their act , they alleged that these lands are belong to Alexandr Mena's heirs and these farmers have no right to remain on it. They added that those farmers should leave the land and force would be used if necessary. This act forced the farmers to remit at a court coffer the requested rents for year 1998.

Farmer complaints raised many suspicions that there was a conspiracy planned between the officials and the new landlord to enable him to seize the land. Support for this suspicion was evidenced when the cases legal declaration of inheritance rights and other related documents were removed from the case file.

LCHR has found that the disputed contracts of ownership claimants were registered after the death of Warda and Saneya Alexander Mina, and there were not any notes included in the file of the case

Similar irregularities were also noted in the primary ownership contracts that included incorrect areas and boundaries that differed from the originals registered at the survey department of Assuit province . For instance, Abdulazeem El-Sonosi, one of ownership claimants, alleged that he bought an area of 26 acres and 16 sahim. However it appeared that his plot he claimed is bearing a contract number of another plot which was also showing differed map boundaries . The real plot area was founded to be registered and endorsed by the general survey department . These real documents were confirmed following reviewing them at the survey deportment in Assuit province. It is appeared that the owner had actually 0, 21 parts of an acre and not 21 acres as he claimed .

The LCHR subsequently filed an urgent lawsuit No 218. The center urged suspending the governor's administrative decision which legalized the ownership of land by the new owners . So ,a date was set for holding first hearing session at July ,7, 1998. Following receiving a notification from the court, the governor ordered an immediate suspension of the decision ,which appeared later for him it had been based on a false and illegal findings.

The Land Center also notified that the continuation of intimidation and threats by many officials and security personnel will eventually lead to intensifying of the tense situations at those areas .

The parties are requested to be more quite and reasonable until the final rules in the issue is endorsed .It is also appealing to all parties to respect the supremacy of law . So as to avoid consequences that challenge farmer human rights. The center also called upon officials at various departments to withhold the rule of law and seek impartiality.The center also called upon all popular leaderships at Mankabad to exert much more effort to end this problem ,and to create the suitable environment needed for avoiding the eruption of any violent incidents in future.

There are many others examples and complains that received by the Center on similar violations. However, we sufficed with those above mentioned ones to only demonstrated the scope of violations being staged against the farmer's property right

On April 16, 1999, four farmers were murdered and two injured following a dispute over the rights of cultivating a river-born plot of land. The victims were members of two families each claims that they have rented the land from the State Assets authority. Both families' members involved in the fight were arrested and referred to prosecution that later investigated the events. Information available to Land Center showed that the fight between El-Wiessya and Abanoub families was actually erupted following their quarrel on the right of using four karats of land each claimed to have rented from the government. Regrettably, the fight between them claimed the lives of Mohamed Hassan Ahmed, 70, a farmers, Fathi Abdul Wabeb, 50, a framer, Ahmed Mohamed Sulaman, 22, and Omer Sulman. Gamal Khalif Sayed 25, and Mostafa Mohamed Hassan, 35, were also sustained several serious injuries. Following being tipped off, police of Abounb district rushed to the area and arrested members of the two families.

Violence relating to dwellings on farmlands

The implementation of law 96 for 1992, that was effective on October 6, 1997, has accompanied by so many violations that either staged at the hands of the landlords themselves or government authorities concerned. The law as we know was to affect the relation between the landowner and tenant farmer.

One of these most trouble consequences of the application of law 96 is that concerning the necessity of evacuating the villagers from their houses they built in the rented lands.. However, despite the fact article four of law 96 is made necessary providing of an alternative dwelling for evacuating farmers from houses annexed to farms, the statuesque was not in compliance with this order. And even the conditions stated in the law. The law article was so clear in this respect as it mentioned the following:

The implementation of law's articles did not effect the legal and contractual regulations stated in the date of the implementation regarding the houses annexed to farming lands. However, according to the law articles, inhabitants of these annexed houses are to evacuate them if the land renting contract abolished. Moreover, in case the farmer has no other alternative dwelling to shelter him and his family, the government is requested to provide him with a suitable alternative house within his locality. Providing that this alternative house is a conditional, otherwise evacuation is not permitted." Despite the clarity of the above mentioned article, the statuesque tells something differently. We will try demonstrate some of violate acts happened during 1998, which in our opinion serve as best example on behavior of authorities regarding these crucial rights.

- Azzet manor: This manor is one of the many manors constitute El Dabaia village that lies at 10 km from Ismailia province of the Suaz Canal district. The manor occupy an area e of 900 acres and has a population of about 6,000 people. The majority of these people are tenant farmers in land they hiring from the manor owner Azzet Abdul Wahab.

Moreover, the tenants of the manor lands have no written contracts to prove their possession of their farms ,in addition they also cultivating it in sharing basis agreements, that mostly concluded verbally with Abdul Wahib hires' agent Mr. Mohamed Fathi Dandish.

Following the death of Fathi Dandash the affairs of these lands run by Hamid Sayed El-Rashedi, who during his time the tenant farmers were expelled of their farms -- about 200 acres It said that farmers left the lands without any objection as he asked them to do that and all turned to daily pay workers in the manor. El-Rashedi, making use of the no objection mode showed by natives when he claimed the farming lands, he and the hires have also claimed the ownership of the land in which the houses of natives built. In so doing , they asked them to buy this plot of housing land and they set a price of EL 1650 per karrat.

According to the natives the claimed plot of land is not located within the assets of Azzet manor. This plot of land ,in fact, was a barren land that leveled and made suit for housing by them since 1948. The have also insisted that there is an iron mark fixed by survey department to demarcate the borders of the manor and that of their houses.

The natives have been exposed later to many threats at the hands of landowner as they remained insisting to defend their possession rights of their houses plots .

In this respect, Ahmed Mohammed Arfa , an accountant with Ismailia's branch of Misr bank, said that he was subjected for many intimidation at the hands of the area police supernatant, Abdul-Razikel-Tahayi. This police official is a close friend of Abdul-Fadeel El-Sayed one the land heirs who made a report to police accuse Araf of motivating natives to cause violent deeds in the area. This report filed on October 5,1998, and bare No 19 H, was administratively kept and coded under number 4098/98.

In addition, Hamid El-Rashedi threatened the daily-pay farmers to dismiss them from work if they did not buy the lands in which they have built their houses. In an attempt to fostering the purchasing process , El-Raced and some of hires members gave money to some of the workers to paid as price form their houses' lands. they also made for them contracts that bear no registration numbers or contract code numbers. The latter is essential so as to prove the transformation of land ownership from government to the would-be new owner. So that we see all these contracts are false.

The serious developments noted in this issue has urged the natives file their complaint to Ismailia governor, who in turn issued decrees number 1133/97 and 1310/97. According to these two decrees a reconciliation committee formed to settle this issue. During the committee verification of each party's evidences, the hires present some papers and documents dating back to 1952. that prove their possession of a part of the land in which the natives built their houses. However, the committee later failed to locate the originals of these document at the State Assets department in Ismailia.

In response to these development, Land Center for human Rights filed a lawsuit for 25 of the manor natives again the hires of late azzet Abdul- Wahib. The center in this lawsuit asked the court to enable these native remain in their possession and that the hires not to oppose to them.

The center in this case based its defense on what stated in article 961 of civil law. This article clearly says: "the possessors, who in hold of an asset for a period of one year, is permitted to file a lawsuit if the owner objected him during the following year. This to force the owner not to further object him,"

Since the applicants are actually residing and possessing the disputed land, which constitutes azzet Manor since 1948 and had necessary documents and papers that prove that rights, so that the owners have no right in their claims .

-El-Zeni Manor natives resist the expulsion from their houses. and lands:

This manor located at Menia El-Nasr local district of Dakahlia province at about 35 km from El-Mansoura Town. The total arable area of this manor is about 82 acres and its total population is about 1,500 people . They use the land allotted to them by the Agrarian Reform Authority that confiscated from its real owners after application of land reform laws. In fact these farmers took these land barren and they the ones reclaimed and cultivated it. they have also privately built their houses in it. when the landlord retained these land from the agrarian authority , he left them cultivate the lands and paying their renting dues or divide whatever they yielded with him.

The problem actually start during late July, 1997. when the manor sold out. the new owner applied for surveying of the manor area by survey authority, as he sold the manor and all houses without informing its dwellers.

When the new owner and survey men approached the manor fields to carry out their work, the natives developed angry and stoned them and set fire in used car-tires in protests against them.

Again the problem erupted between the old and new landowners. This time over the actual area of the sold manor. This situation developed the fairs of natives so that they prevented them and survey personnel from complete their work .

Later, the owner presented a report on these events to Menia El-Nasr police superintendent, who registered his report under number 19973/12. And he ordered the move of 12 soldiers' lorries and a number of armed cars to the site of incidents. . As these forces arrived the manor they invaded the houses and thrown the natives belongs in the manor water canal. Moreover, as the farmers tried to resist their actions, police fired tear gas and started beating them. This battle results in wounding a great number of natives and the death of some livestock.

Following that the forces staged a manhunt for arresting the farmers hiding at the nearby fields and villages and they managed in arresting 90 citizens including women, elders and children. Twenty-one of the arrested, including six women, referred to public prosecution in March 1997, who decided the release of some detained persons in bail of their residing. But police had actually freed them after almost one week. The prosecution also ordered the release of seven others' persons in bail of 1,000 pounds, but as inability to pay this amount they remained in detention for several many days. Finally, 45 farmers ordered to remained in for 45 days upon the prosecution directives. The farmers said that during their period of detention they have tortured at the hands of the head of investigation, namely Homed, department and his assistants. According to them they slapped on the faces, beaten on their bodies and raped.

The Center, in responses to the reported violent deeds staged at the hands of the investigation chief, filed a complaint to public prosecutor office. In its complaint the center accused the investigation chief of maltreating the detained persons and miscarriage of a woman, namely Camellia Osman despite they ordered to released since July 1997. The complaints also stated that the prosecutor investigating the case referred 21 of them to State Security prosecution. Finally the farmers handed over the land to the owner, despite that the filed a lawsuit against them to force them quit their houses.

The summary of this case was like that : The claimant Mohammed Gamil Hassan El-Zani owns a farming land at Manshia Mubarak of Menai El-Nasr district. The defendants, according to him, are farmers whom work in his manor. He claimed that he given them these houses because they are serving him. Following the issuance of law 96 for 1992, he therefore filed the lawsuit number 302/96 Civil, Mania El-Nasr, that postponed for hearing on October 13, 1998. His goal is to retain these houses' lands.

On another development regarding farmers' issues, Mansoura Higher State Security Court heard on June 2, 1999 the case of 21 farmers of Al-Zeeni village. The public prosecution accused these farmers, who also residents of Mani Al-Nasr village, of staging an illegal gathering to protest against the Land Law and its consequences. He added that those persons following their protest police arrested them and made a report on the event that carried number 84 for 98 / State Security. They accordingly referred to a court, the prosecution added. The court held its first session of hearing on January 3, 1999. The prosecutor charged the defendants of staging of an illegal gathering of more than five persons purposely to harm citizens and their properties. He also accused them of attempting to forcibly influencing a public institution's activities and damaging public properties, which included a police car No 14420 and a private lorry, No 71182/ Dakahlia.

--In Lasefer village, of Dosuk district Kafr el-Keish province tenants farmers evacuated the land they rented for its owner Saad Gawish in October 1997. They have done that in hope that they would get alternative lands as the ministry of agriculture promised that.

However, on March 13,1998, they submitted their applications to cooperative society to obtain the promised lands, but official there asked them to obtain an approval letter from the owner of the land. This letter to prove that they already quit the land and executed the law. However, the owner himself imposed another condition on farmers. He ordered them to quit their houses. These houses, infect, were occupied by 16 families for almost 50 years.

The farmer desperately consulted agriculture administration office that confirmed the unnecessary demand made by the village society. They later drew their application and files from cooperative and directly submit them to the administration on May 25,1998. Regrettably, the administration's officials informed them that they applied two days after the closing date set by the ministry. They therefore sent petitions to Prime minister, minister of Agriculture, Justice minister and governor of Kafr El-Shiekh province, but all replies are the same, that they applied too late. Thereafter, all their files remained at the agriculture administration.

Concerning their accommodation at the manor's houses, farmers said that they are living under the mercy of the owner, who may expel them out of it at any time. Add to this they prevented from all services like water and electricity. This because the land owner warned the chairperson of the Rural Council not to supply the villagers with electricity and water services without his approval.

In conclusion, we can say that the landlord deprives these farmers from cultivating his land and denies even their rights to work in it as causal labors. Moreover, the land for these farmers is their only source of income. Very soon these farmers will be out of their houses because an expulsion lawsuit filed by the owner is now in making. This would a true after the government failure to honor its promises to compensate them for their lost lands.

- Ramzy El-Sabal village: Ramzy El-Sabal manor is belong to El-Akidaa villages. It lies in Fakous rural area council of El-Shrakia province. This village is a home for 3,000 people, who mostly perform farming as profession. the average area of land possession in this village is about 1,5 acres. The villagers said they have inhabited this village 50 years ago.

Farmers there say that they cultivating the lands of this village for long years through renting contracts that they concluded with the land owners. However, the owner sold his land to a new owner The new owner later tries all possible means to expel these farmers from the land and even from their houses, as he claims that their houses are a part of his farming. In addition, he denied that rented any land for any farmer, and he does not recognize their contracts they made with the land former owner.

He later sent an official warning letter to eight villagers in August 1995 to evacuate an area of more than 10 acres they are cultivating it without his approval. He then made a report on the case, bear number 3842/95, at Fakous police station. The report made on September 24,1995 and registered under number 20/311/95 cases. He again them another warning in November 1995, requesting them to immediately evacuate the houses they dwell. insisting on expelling the farmers from their houses, this time, he file an urgent lawsuit before Fakous Court In his lawsuit, which bare number 480/1996, civil urgent. He asked the court to evacuate eight of the farmers from the land and houses. In the same time, he filed another lawsuit, baer number 481/96, against nine other farmers who cultivate an area of 18 acres. In his lawsuit he asked the court to order the evacuation of these farmers from the land and their houses.

So recently the authority of agrarian reform has asked tens of inhabitant of village of El-Beharia province to settle it against their use of state land properties for last 25 years.

This is, of course, defies the quintuple progression law that prohibit the settlement of more than five-year dues by indebted farmers. Moreover, the natives are not to blame for the inefficiency of the authority's personnel all these years.

According to the available information on this subject, the farmers built their houses in these lands after they paid one pound per a meter for each area of a house. .It also proved that the cooperative society at the area corresponded the pricing committee of the agrarian reform ten years ago. This is in aim to determine the actual prices per meter so the native could settle the request amounts. However, there was no answer received all over this period. It was only this year that the natives receive letters of warning asking them to settle these dues, which range among 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. Here we note that the authority raised the meter prices from 10 pt in 1954 to 30 pt. And it is now request these natives to settled the dues by a backdated effect as from the date of distribution, which means 25 years ago.

The farmers rising a question: How can they pay all these huge amounts, while they have already expelled from their lands? Their request now is the cancellation of debts. This is because they are firstly inability to meet them and secondly they are illegal.

-El-Sharkia: The life of 300 families of El-Mayia manor of El-Hassania, Sharkia province, turned black because of the tyrannical act made by the Agrarian Reform Authourity' employees., 1998, The farmers, on December 12, surprised with the Agrarian Reform Authority' s refusal to hand them over the ownership contracts of their lands, which estimated at 152 acres and belong to land reform project.. Besides they reclaimed these lands since 1962, and built in their houses, they also paid big part of its prices. So that they were eligible to own these lands ten years ago.. However, the chairman of the general authority of Agrarian Reform , in Dokki, managed to obtain a decree, signed by minister of agriculture, to deprive these farmers from their lands which they reclaimed. Now all these farmers are threatened to be expelled once an decision passed to this effect.

Mohammed El-Hafnyi one of the villagers say that we have exposed for a well- organized portraying act as we received these lands one year ago and promised to own them after we settle all its prices. Now after we paid the price of land and built our houses, the authority now refuse to give us the contracts . Is the authority turned to be a permits projects company.

Mohammed Abdul Azez, a farmer says, that his father has died while working in this land. He was the one turned it from barren to green. How it comes that after all this time I, my brothers and may children expelled from it. To where we would all go? We have no other where to go, but this land. While the documents of these land assure that from the legal point of view, these farmers are entitle to receive their lands contracts as they settled its price. Add to that the amount collected by the government since 1986 reach 10 million pounds

. "Any amount to be requested by the government after that would be illegal and to be refunded. In the meantime the villagers have sent a warning letter to the minister of agriculture, and they promise to rise the issue to Prime minister to retain the rights of these farmers and for to be treated like other beneficiaries of Agrarian Reform lands

Till now the problem of these farmers not solved yet, despite the fact they subject for expulsion from their houses at any time.

In a new act of violating the citizens' right to housing, Land Center has recently received many complaints from the natives of Botrus village in Giza. According to the natives' accounts, Hakmaat Abdulla Gergia, the village owner has managed to secure 20-court rule from Al-Ayatt first sentence court. These verdicts entirely ruled the eviction of the natives from the manor houses that locates in Al-Mataniya area. The verdicts issued based on the claims made by the owners that these farmers have rented her manor's houses according to limit period contracts - one month to a year-. It also indicated that the contracts were all liable for the general rules of the civil law. She (the owner) is therefore eager to end the rental relations with these villagers since the area of Al-Mataniya is liable for the rules of recent rent law.

Moreover, villagers claimed that Hakmaat has present the court forged contacts that she said their forefathers had signed them , a matter that totally contradicted the fact. To prove their claims , the villagers said it never happened allover the past 40 years that one of them has paid a single penny in rent for this woman. They also added that they are not know any thing about such relation though their residence period at this manor goes back to 1956, the date the claimant alleged that the contract had signed during it. Asserting their claims they said at this time the claimant or any of her heirs was not possessing any piece of land in this area .

It also appeared for the Center that these houses, which the complainants inherited from their forefathers, were all renovated and many of them rebuilt in concrete and bricks. The strange is that nobody has objected to such renovation introduced by the villagers all over this time. They finally ask. Where was the owner all this time? Why could, if what mentioned in the contracts is correct, accept such humble amount against using such houses without trying to rise the value or expelling them from it? In their opinion, what has happened is a kind of forgery and turning around the law in aim to nullify their rights to these houses, which they inherited from their grandfathers.

Land Center sees the complaints of these villagers and their expulsion constitute a serious matter that should justly dealt with in order to rescue the future of 300 families of our poor farmers and their children. Simply because the entire verdict issued against them have built on a fake and false documents. Therefore, the Center argues all officials concerned to conduct immediately an investigation on this event to identify the right from the wrong. Such request is badly need especially if came to know that there is a security committee that set up to study the procedures and possibilities for executing these verdicts. That is in other word means the expulsion of these families and their children. It worthy mentioning that the Center has filed petition number 574 dated June 29, 1999, with the Public prosecutor asking him to take legal necessary steps to protect the life of these families by suspending the court's expulsion verdicts. That in aim to guarantee their rights in having better housing condition. In addition to that, the Center has filed many lawsuits in behalf of these villagers seeking the court to stop the rules issued to expel the farmers from their houses.

- In Beni Suif, Baba Court will hear on 23 July 1999, a lawsuit filed by Endowment Authority against 25 family. All of these families are from Rashowan manor of Baba rural district in upper Egyptian province of Beni suif. The case started early 1997. That when the natives of this manor were surprised by the authority imposing on them administrative confiscation procedures in the pretext that they have violated the authority lands and illegally constructed houses in it. That was without paying the official due fees on it. The fact is that these villagers have no any contractual relation with the authority and that they resided in these houses since 1910 without having any dispute with any body regarding over its ownership. They have also rebuilt them by themselves using concrete and bricks from 20 years ago. The Center reacting to their appeal has filed a complaint with the Public prosecutor that carries number 574 for 1999. It therefore asked his good office to take necessary steps to stop the expulsion of the farmers from their houses.

Meanwhile due to the negligence on the part of the State Assets Authority, thousands of the beneficiaries of the lands and those of islands are now living under the threat of being unfairly fined by the authority. It known that these people have built their houses in the area stretched from Biead Al-Arab to Al-Habebia east of the Nile, which is originally belong to the assets authority. Actually, these inhabitants have not to blame for delaying in paying the authority fees. Nevertheless, the fact that authority's officials were entirely reluctant in collecting these fees from the inhabitants all over this long period. That of course has led to accumulating of big sums of fees on these poor inhabitants. The new move came after the head of the authority has transferred to the province investment office. The new head has introduced many changes to the authority set up, especially at the districts' level, which unveiled many of deficiencies and reluctance regarding collecting of state' dues with farmers and land users. Despite the fact that farmers have no thing at present because the losses of their crops due to flood, they are request to pay all these cash. In the same time, some committees belong to the State Assets Authority have surveyed and measured the houses located in Daier Al-Nahiea, Al- Meryi Al- Alweei and the lands lays outside the province boundaries. It therefore stipulated fees, that seen unjust by many of the residents. They have therefore made complaints for the authority and the governor. Following that new committees were formed and surveyed the area for the second time in order to reduce the fees set by the first committees. Moreover, for the surprise of the beneficiaries they found that fees estimated by new committees the same as the first ones. Worse, they have ordered to settle immediately these fees or otherwise they would be subjected for administrative confiscation and imprisonment.That is exactly what the authority has done, as it sent warning letters to citizens in this regard. In addition, the province governor has issued decree No 77 establishing permanent committees at the districts to assist in achieving this work. These committees headed by the rural districts' council chairpersons and the membership of the areas' executive directors and police stations chiefs. Unfortunately, these committees done nothing for farmers and even no decision has issued by them till now. In the same context, some of the province rural council members informed the Center's researchers that they have asked for stopping of fee collecting, the formation of a new reevaluation committees and writing off the old debts requested from these citizens. Although these fees were overestimated, there are many doubts evolving its values. That was evident in cases of the inhabitants of the villages located in east Nile districts as Gheatia, Gabel Al-Nour, and Al-Gezeria al-Sharkis. At these areas there are many citizen who were subjected for administrative confiscation procedures in order to pay huge amount in fees, which imposed either on their houses or farmland. That happens despite the fact that they have not even, what could make them alive. Other similar cases also found at areas as Beni Suef eastern desert at which the farmers' house were demolished last year, especially at Gabal Al-nur and Sannour villages. The strange is that they people after they have prepared all the necessary documents requested from them and applied to the state assets authority to rebuild their house, they haven't yet receive any answer. Such negative response urged them to filed complaints with the authorities concerned, but was also to no avail. Therefore, 100 of them gathered in front of the province building seeking to meet with the governor to abolish the confiscation of their properties. Also in the same time, there were attempts to move them but it was resisted and the farmers remained until the secretary general of the province referred them to the state Assets authority to solve their problem. There they handed over their document and applications to the officials concerned who in turn promised them that their problem would be soon solved. This action urged Land center to file a complaint with minister of agriculture and governor of Beni Suef. In its complaint, the Center asks for necessary steps are taken to protect the rights of these farmers and paying them due compensation for the losses they have inflicted.

- Land Center has also in behalf of 27 farmers filed a lawsuit against a manor owner, Prime Minister, and Chairman of Endowment Authority. The case filed after the farmers affirmed that have found by a mere chance a farming share- contract that indicates that they were renting this manor land since 1973 according the share- farming system. That is meant the rented lands are belonging to the Endowment authority and the manor not the owner, but he is only a guardian of these assets, which reach in area to 18,5 acres. Accordingly, the Endowment authority is the real owner and the one supposedly concludes these contracts with farmers. For this reason they have decided to file the aforementioned lawsuit, in which they asked the authority to conclude with them new contracts and oblige the ownership claimant no to object them in cultivating these land. A court has set July 22, 1999 a date for hearing the case and for bring a certificate from Sharikia Endowment department. It worthy mentioning that the owner of this manor has previously sued these farmers to evict them from the land and other facilities at the manor. The first lawsuit was filed against 25 farmers of akaadia al-Bahariya village, but the court referred it to an experts committee. The Center's lawyers have also attended the session and defended the farmers right. Moreover, during the hearing it appeared that the claimant has no any inherited official deed to prove his claims. He instead presents selling contracts that signed directly by one of his heirs. This contract was not also supported by any possession document to prove his ownership of these lands. The case is now pending until the expert report received. The second lawsuit, which was not differ from the first one, postponed from April 1, 1999 to July 10, 1999 for correcting its elements as the defendant, Ahmed Al-Sayed Al-Rowmy, has dead.

-The Center has also tackled the problem of the Al-Dabaia area inhabitants. These people said that someone appeared at the area and claimed the ownership of the lands in which they have built their houses. They added that the claimant has actually file a number of lawsuits to expel them from their houses. These lawsuits were 1453/98 Civil /Ismailia, which heard by a court on April 26, 1999 and issued a verdict ruling their evacuation from the area. Moreover, the Center lawyers have appealed against the rule before Ismailia appeal court. The appeal took number 559/24/j was decided to be hear on July 7,1999. It moreover postponed to September 4, 1999 to inform the defendants.

Moreover, the Center based on article 968 of civil law has also filed a number of lawsuits in behalf of these inhabitants to prove their possession rights which they have acquired from 30 years ago according the law . The lawsuit took numbers 823/ 824/ 825/ 826/ 827/ 828/ 584/ 586/ 578/ 588/ 589/ 590/ 591/ and 592 for 1999. The article 968 stipulates that: " Whoever possesses an asset without being its real owner or, he owned a right in an unfixed asset without being its real owner, such person has the right to possess this thing or right. This is provided that he should have remained possessing it for a continuous period of 15 years."

The period from July to August 1999 was set for hearing these lawsuits before an Ismailia court. Moreover, a number of these cases were heard recently at attended by the center lawyers who present the court several document proving the ownership of these house by farmers. The documents included the certificate issued by Ismailia local council indicating that these farmers have resided this area from 30 years ago. Other documents were from the assets tax department as well as endorsed certificates proving the ownership of these houses by farmers.

-In Beni Suef, Baba district there are a number of farmers in Taha Al-Beshia village who were renting farmland for long time with contracts signed according to the agrarian reform law 178/ 52. Moreover, article five of law 96 for 1992 stipulates that it is of the right of farmlands' tenants who their provisional contracts ended to own desert lands reclaimed by the government. Such process would be carried out in accordance with basis and regulations stipulated in law 143/ 81 concerning reclaimed desert lands. In orders to alleviate the painful damage inflicted upon these farmers Agriculture Minister gave directives allowing them to own alternative lands instead of the one its contracts have ended. That is provided they have to meet certain conditions that footed his order. These conditions were as follows.

. The renting contract should be registered with a cooperative society before law 96 was issued.

. Farming should be the main profession of the applicant.

. Applicant should not have any other land or renting either an old or a new land.

The applicant should have actually handed over the rent lands to the owner.

Regrettably, though all these conditions were found applicable to the most of these farmers, none of them has received any land till now. Therefore, Land Centre filed a lawsuit in behalf of 50 farmers of Taha Al-Beshia village against the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, minister of agriculture and Beni Suif Governor. On its case the Centre asked the court to order the authorities to allocate 10 acres for each farmer at the vicinity of his village.

During mid of May 1999, tens of elders and youths of Badia village were imprisoned mercilessly that led to spreading of the hanger, diseases, pollution and illiteracy. Currently the dwellers of this village are not only leaving in fear and terror but also suffer the humiliation and coarseness.

The story of the ordeal of this village started 40 years ago. That when some landlord had bought the village present land , reclaimed and cultivated. Both the landowners and tenants farmers had lived on this land in peace. Even though some of the tenant farmers have bought lands and many others are inherited lands from their forefathers. Every thing was going alright until 1983 when the natives informed by Nasser Bank representative that land of the village -19,3 acres- is belong to the bank. The bank agent also said that the land was owned by Mohamed Darawish Al-Manhoud who later sold it to a foreigner called Aseed Basilly against certain amount of cash in 1935. The bank agent asked the natives to pay immediately the value of the land to the bank since its owner had died leaving no heirs and, therefore, his wealth confiscated by Muslim Funds House run by Nassar Bank.

A state of fear overwhelmed the natives, especially after the agent of the bank has actually confiscated some of the people's belongings that failed to remit the amount requested from them by the bank. The bank has also filed lawsuits with courts accusing some of the natives of mishandling confiscated properties. Most of these lawsuits ended in imprisonment of many of them.

Actually, the facts say that this land is belonging to these people since 1900. Many of them had possession contracts. Some others heirs of the land and are liable to possess it with the lapse of time. In the other words after 50 years --according to law. So these people were residing in this area even before the 1983, the time first the bank had enumerated its assets in area.

The fact is proofs are abundant to prove the right of these natives in this land. The first is that when Assed took over the land from Al- Manqoud, according to the contract No 85/ 1935, this very person was not alive. That because if he would be alive he would have taken his dues of the compensation given to the village natives by the Al-Fayyum survey department. The department has stripped the possession of half acre of the village land in 1963 according to decree No 86. Another fact is that the period between the time of paying this compensation and enumerating of the assets at this village is almost 15 years. Also all over these years the natives were regular payers of taxes and had all the documents proving that. They also registered with the Al-Ameria Agricultural Cooperative society of Al-Fayyum, as landowners. Other proofs are that late Ahmed Moussa Al Sayed and his heirs have built in the village a school that ministry of education is renting until now. Disregarding all the violations committed during times of detention, mishandling, imprisonment, and police reporting, the natives of this village at present are passing through a bleak time. That because the bank debts on them are accumulating. That all happens though officials have much of their efforts to save the dignity of these citizens, as they had nothing left even to meet their children treatment and education. Here a question poses, if that the case of these people, why they could pay all these amounts of debts requested by this bank. That would be asked especially if we came to known that courts have issued many verdicts against that would them for imprisonment in addition to their humiliating before the courts and police stations. For this reason, we do ask all officials concerned to take necessary procedures to protect the rights of these natives.

Disputes over land boundaries

- Five farmers killed their neighbour on December 4,1998, because of an area of 5 cm of land. They have attacked him with iron bars till he dropped unconscious later they passed over his body with their tractor. Following that a big row erupted between members of the two families that led to police force's intervention to calm the situation. However, the victim's relatives gathered in front of Kafr El-Zaiat district seeking a revenge from the murderers, while the dead body Mohammed Abdul-Salaam -- a farmer- was referred to Tanta teaching hospital. It is to be noted that the victim was residing at Ebiar village of Kafr El-Zaiat local district. The Investigation revealed that the accused , Assiam Ibrahim Abou Ema, and brothers Mohammed, Nabel, Salah have beaten him with an ax then passed over his body by their tractor. The crime staged as we said because of the dead person has seized the disputed area of 5 cm during harrowing of the land. The prosecutor, accordingly, ordered the arrest of the proprietors for four days pending further investigations.

- Also on January 27,1999 a framer in Durul Salaam district shut his neighbor following a dispute over the boundaries of their farm plots. The culprit was later arrested and the weapon used in murder was found. He referred to prosecution that ordered his detention for further investigation. On another incident Abdullla El-Refay, 60, a farmer dead upon arrival at a hospital sustaining a serious gun shots in the chest. Information shown that the deceased was in a dispute with his neighbor Rafaat Rady, 27, over the boundaries of their farming plots. As the dispute between them has recently seriously developed, Rafaat used his rifle and shot dead Rafay. Rafaat later arrested and referred to prosecution that ordered his detention for further interrogations.

- On June 23, 1999, police tipped off that the fierce fight has erupted between Idreas and Al-Khieal families at Mene' el-Amer of al Hamoudia district south of Cairo. The fight that said to be due to a dispute over the ownership of a piece of farming land has ended in injuring of eight persons. Police investigation showed that there was a previous dispute between the two families over the ownership of the same plot of farming land and a police report was verified in it on June 18 at Hamoudia police station. Moreover, on 22 of June a fight happened once more, during which both sides has used firearms and swards. It ended in injuring of eight people. Police rush to the incident scene, arrested 14 persons who later referred to prosecution to ordered their detention pending further investigations.

- A farmer in Akhmem in Upper Egypt set his house a blaze and allegedly accused his neighbor of committing this deed for being having a dispute with him over the ownership of a farming land. The accident reported on June 29, 1999. Information made available to Land Center revealed that Azeat Zaki, 30, from Al-Sawume, is the one lighted the fire to the house and later accused his neighbors. It added that all the accusations he made against his neighbors Arafa' Mohamoud, 65, Attia Mohamed Abdulateef, 54, and Ragab Hassan Abdulla 35, were a mere allegations. The police investigations affirmed this information and showed that there were disputes between this farmer and his neighbors over the ownership of a piece of land. However, for being unable to solve these problems, he set fire to his house roof to avenge from them. The fire devastated the whole house. Police later arrested him and the prosecutor ordered his detention for further investigations.

Disputes over irrigation

- On the 25th January, E l-Assyia a village in Upper Egypt province of Sohag, witnessed a horrible murder case as a farmer killed his neighbour and seriously injured another. The fight erupted following a dispute over an irrigation canal. El-Manshe'a police station on the day accident tipped of that Mohamoud Zaki Khalil, 35, a health insurance employee was killed and his brother a teacher was also seriously injured at the hands of another farmer. Both victims were owners of a plot of land that neighboring the one of the killer, the informers added. Other information we acquired on the accident shown that there was a dispute between the victim and his neighbor Said Ahmed Ariqi, 22, a farmer, over an irrigation canal lying in between their farming plots. This dispute seemingly has heightened among them recently and as a result Ariqi and his brother attacked Khalil and his brother by a knife that led to the death of the first and injuring of the second. The culprits escaped the murder sense but they were later caught and arrested in charges of murder of an government employee.

- On June 21, 1999, farmers and landowners in Talkha, Dakahlia province threatened to go on hunger strike to protest against the irrigation department's decision to lock Al-Sahal irrigation canal. This act if it made would badly affected thousands of rice farms at the area. Officials concerned defend this decision saying that farmers at this area have planted rice in acres exceeded the area designed for this season.

As a consequence for this decision, the growth of rice in large number of fields has discontinued as supplies of water were cut. This action has urged farmers to file with many province officials concerned, but all were without response. For this reason, they have threatened to go in strike and it was when more than 1,000 farmers went to the Dakahlia Agriculture directorate and met with the under-secretary. An official promised to look into their complaint and pass it to the provinces governor at the earliest opportunity.

- An unprecedented move regarding the distribution of farmland was staged by a co-operative society for land reclamation in Abu Suar, Quntaria district of Isamlia province. Early, an area of 2,041 acres has allocated for this society to be distributed for its members at Abu Suar district. Each member of the society has got five acres accordingly that in addition to other individuals who were already in possession of some plots there. The later awarded a share in the land according to minister of agriculture decree No 40 for 1986. Mohamoud Abu El-anin, well known as Abu-Qarmeet, was on the possessor and has additional 30 acres when the land first distributed. Upon a complaint made by the society and others people, Abu El-anin was detained on ground that he posses a danger to the area security as he managed to control an area of 500 acres by force. In an attempt to end the conflict between the society and Abu El-anan, some of the People's Assembly members have intervened. Moreover, to accept their mediation, the society board of management conditioned that the land under his control should re-divide and distribute to the members. They have also asked for making a track to separate his land and, that of his brothers, from the lands belongs to the society members. But neither he or his brothers abide to this agreement and continued to control an area of 173 acres of the society allocated lands in addition to that of his brothers. He also tried to kill one of a member of the society while they were involving in establishing fodder roads in their farm plots. The attack has reported to Abuo Sower police station. Among the others illegal deeds committed by Abu El-anin is his selling of an area of 100 acres to an agricultural firm. He has also tried to force the society accept this action though the lands were taken to be distribute to society members. He has also barred the society management from establishing a road to enable other members reached their lands and he also made a canal within the society that besides other illegal acts he used to commit against the society properties.

For all these illegal deeds of Abo El-anin, many of the society members unable to receive the plot of land allocated for them. On the other hand, the society's board of management has recently exempted Abuo El-anin from paying the installments decided by the society for building its infrastructures. In so doing, the board said it would include the area of 173 acres controlled by Abuo El-anin in its infrastructure plan. Moreover, Abu El-Annie was also excluded when the society's General Assembly called for abolishing of the membership of any member who failed to remit more than two installments according to the Cooperative law No 122 for 1981. Furthermore, Abuo el-anin has also benefited from facilities awarded by government for Coop societies. That was when the society board allowed him to settle the prices of the land he controls installment. That was despite the fact he does not pay any of the society's dues on him. The board only accepted some signed chequs from him, which it later used against him when filed for a lawsuit. Regrettably, it was the society that later decided to end the lawsuit before courts under the pretext it has not provided his land with any infrastructure. The irony is that at the time the society's board of management exempting such person from paying the dues on him, the society is requested to meet or actually pursuing many obligations of others parties. For instance, it had recently paid a huge electricity bill. It also requested to settle half million pounds by October 10, 1999 to connecting the society lands with the main water canal. In both cases, Abou El-anin never paid a single penny. Nevertheless, that is common since the man in conspiracy with the society board of management has managed to connect his own land with water of an irrigation canal at the area. In doing so, he reckoned to use of power and defied all laws and regulations, either that to do with lands ownership rights or the approved methods of irrigation at the area. The consequence would be felt by the regular members whom their share in water would be badly effected by the wrong deed of Abou El-anin.

Land Center for Human Rights, therefore, calls on Minister of Agriculture intervene personally in this issue to protect the rights of the society members to their lands and plantations.

Violence resulting from deterioration in living conditions

- On April 25, a farmer in Maragha, Upper Egypt, killed his spouse after she had taunted him that he was unable to sustain their livelihood expenses following the non-renewal of his tenancy agreement. On arrest the man confessed to his crime. Investigations showed that Nafessa Assed Hussein from Fzaara village had sustained a severe a cut to her neck. She was rushed to Assuit teaching hospital where she died in arrival . The LCHR was told that the woman and her husband were always fighting over financial matters.

- On 7th of March, 1999 a farmer in Upper Egypt province of Sohag seriously shot his brother following a dispute over a bundle of clover. The injured person rushed to a hospital in a serious condition, while the culprit was later arrested and referred to the prosecution that ordered his detention pending further investigation. Sohag teaching hospital later reported that it admitted Alaa el-din Ismail suffering from a serious gun shot in the chest. The hospital's report has also affirmed that it was so difficulty to interrogating the victim to know the reasons behind his injuries.

However, Information made available to Land Centre indicated that the victim 'Alaa' has used to breach his brother Khalid, 24, clover field. All that started after they have divided a plot of land, which was rented in 1997. On the day of the accident, Khalid hid himself in the field anticipating the arrival of the victim and once he saw him he directly shot him. The victim was rushed to the hospital and the police arrested Khalid and seized the pistol which he used in committing his crime.

- In Beni Suif, a report said that a father in collaboration with his younger son has killed his older son and set his house ablaze on April 2, 1999. Further investigations showed that the father, 61, who was also married to a second wife, has sold out a part of his land. When the older son asked his father to offer him his share on the money earned from the land selling, a fight erupted between them. It has ended in killing of the older son at the hands of the father in collaboration with his younger son called Salima, 16, a student. It is worth mentioning that this accident is the second of its kind, as a decomposed body for a youth was found some time ago in an irrigation canal at the same area.

- A new dimension to the consequences of crisis in livelihoods that has emerged with conflicts over land has been the emergence of livestock theft. Giza investigation department arrested six livestock traders on February 23,1999. The arrested were accused of army robbery as they used to raid the farm animals' fences using arms in el-Ayaat district of Giza province. The culprits reported to attack farms at night and steal whatever they found in them. At the time, head of el- Ayaat investigation department has reportedly received many complaints on the armed robbery of the farmers' animals and beating of their guards. Other information indicated that the culprits were a group of farmers whom expelled from their rented land on October 1997. . The sources added that the gang used to attack their victim at nights using a lorry, in which they carry whatever they usurped of animals to sell later at Cairo markets. Upon gathering enough information about the gang hide out, police arrest attacked it and them. The gang that its members were all farmers has identified as Monsur Hosni, Mohamoud Awaid, Fathi Kamal , Abdulwaheed Ali and Mohamous Abdulwaheed. They confessed to their crimes and two automatic rifles and larger quantities of ammunition were found in their possession. Prosecutor later orders their detention binding further investigations.

Bank debts disputes:

Though many of the government officials have promised to end those problems and write off the debts of these farmers, but regrettably none of these promises have been materialised . So, at present there are many of lawsuits before courts, which totally ignoring all issued of decrees by the state officials in this respect.

As result, many effected farmers gathered in front of the bank premises in January 3, in El-Badary district headquarters during a visit made by the bank manager Hassan Khader. The demonstrators were complaining against the bank management refusal to reschedule their debts and against the high rates of interest imposed against them. It to be noted that these debts have caused the farmers so many problems. This is because their farm product over the previous period was very low due to invalidity of the seeds they got from the bank. Despite all these facts the bank management sent them warning letters that indicate the possibility of confiscating their houses and lands to regain it funds.

As the situation turns to be more tense police intervened to end the protest of the farmers who threatened to occupy the bank premises if their requests not met. Following the interfere of police 23 framers detained, but they released after five hours without even being referred to prosecutor.

On January 16,1999, a regular watchman called Moustafa Abdul Mo'ti, 50, reported to hunt farmers who refused to repay some of the development bank's debts. He also used to chases some other farmers to force them evict lands belong to elite landowners. Finally he managed to force his power over the farmers as he seized the road leading to some of their farms. To avenge from his bad deeds, the farmers set his animal fence ablaze that killed some of the animals. Following that Abdul Mo'ti made a report on his burnt animal fence and the dead animals' accident to El-Read police station. In response a fire brigade moved to the area and managed to put off the fire.

It appeared from the information received by the Center that Abdul Mo'ti has intentionally barred his neighbor farmers from using a joint passage between the fields. The farmers involved were Maher El-Gindy, 40, and his brother. As his assault become unbearable especially for these two farmers, they decided to born his animal fence. When arrested they confessed that they have waited till early hours of 15/1/1999 and doused the roof of the animal fence with kerosene and lighted it. The police later referred them to prosecution that ordered their detention for four days pending further investigations. They were later released in bail. Moreover, no casualties were reported.

-The Center also receive complaints from farmers of Manshiet al-Gamal in Fuyyum province. The framers' complaints indicated that they have submitted many complaints to Agriculture Minister office and Agrarian Reform authority regarding their degrading of the fertility of their lands. They have also asked an inspection team to visit the area to help probe possibility of lowering the amount of fee and removal of the debts accumulated on them. They also showed that a committee from the authority has visited the area on September 16, 1999 and made a report, which proved that the land fertility has lowered by 90. Their report also added that the remaining 10 found to have sprouting rate of less than 30. The farmers indicated in their complaints that despite these clear defects in the land, the area cooperative society has made several confiscation and misuse of properties against the beneficiaries, who currently living under the threat.

All that happens despite the fact that a decree has issued on June 18, 1994 and carrying number 341 has ordered an immediate solution for the problems of the indebted farmers. The decree, which mainly issued to affect farmers and producers who failed to settle their debts, has ordered the rescheduling of the debts of the previous years until October 31, 1993. The scheduling has to be made to enable these farmers pay back their debts over a period of 10 years and without adding any new interests. Fines and other lawsuit filed against these farmers have to be abolished, the decree stipulated. In a related development, decree the Agriculture Minister to solve the problem of farmers with the state-owned the Principle Bank for Agricultural Credits and Development issued number 9929 on December 27, 1997. On light of this decree, the offices of Public prosecutor issued it letter number two for 1998 on January 19, 1999. The prosecutor affirmed that all reports made against stumbling farmers are suspended or to be investigated for compiling of the criminal procedures. He added concerning those who already received court sentence and currently executing the term, but not yet settle their debts, their cases would refer to General Attorney, if it received what could confirm their payment of the debts. In turn, the General Attorney would issue his order to suspend the sentence.

It worth mentioning that when the case of Manshiet al-Gamal farmers was investigated, it was found that the total debts against their account have reached LE 19,141,320 until October 31, 1992. That is in addition to the annual agricultural fee for 1992 and 1993. In addition, despite the outcome of their land inspection results, confiscation of their properties has been carried out for being unable to settle their debts.

In this respect, both farmers and Land Center have filed complaints with the minister of agriculture office seeking his Excellency to order abolishing of the confiscation of their properties and nullifying the accumulating debts against them. Moreover, the center has received a letter from the Agrarian reform authority on January 30,1999 that carried number 796. The authority letter affirmed that the General Administration of Provincial Accounts following its investigation of the complaint presented by the Center has sent us it letter number 51 dated January 26 1999. The General Administration of Provincial Accounts' letter confirmed that it has informed the province authorities to stop all the confiscation procedures and reschedule the due debts until December 12, 1998. It added that the rescheduling would be for five years, provided that the installment of the sixth period for one year. The letter concluded that in this way the problem should considered has solved.

Land Center for Human Rights established in December 1996.

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Human Rights in Egypt

This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights