Document - Egypt: Detained protestor in Egypt ill-treated: George Ramzi Nakhla

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UA: 56/12 Index: MDE 12/008/2012 Egypt Date: 17 February 2012 Date: 14 January 2011

URGENT ACTION

DETAINED protestor in egypt ill-treated

On 6 February 2012 George Ramzi Nakhla was arrested after taking part in a protest in Cairo. He has reportedly been ill-treated while in detention and has not received adequate medical treatment. Amnesty International fears George Ramzi Nakhla may be a prisoner of conscience arrested solely for exercising his right to peaceful assembly

George Ramzi Nakhla, aged 22, works in a shop selling spare parts for cars and is a member of the downtown Cairo “6 April Youth” pro-democracy protest movement. He was arrested on 6 February 2012 at around 6.30am in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, leading to the building of the Ministry of the Interior. It was the scene of some sporadic confrontation between protesters and security forces following a deadly football game during which more than 70 supporters of Ahly football club died.

He was reportedly helping to carry the injured away to a field hospital near Tahrir Square before his arrest. He was taken into a riot police armoured vehicle just after security forces broke a three hour truce with protesters and riot police began firing tear gas at the crowds. He was taken to the Ministry of Interior then to the nearby Abdeen police station. At 8 pm he was presented before Abdeen public prosecution which ordered his detention for four days on charges of damaging public property, assaulting a state employee while carrying out his duties and obstructing traffic. He is one of 140 arrested that day, including a mentally disabled person and children. On 9 February the public prosecution ordered his detention for a further 15 days. He was transferred to Tora Prison, south Cairo.

George Ramzi Nakhla appears to have been ill-treated in police custody both at the police station and in Tora prison. When he appeared before the public prosecution on 6 February, witnesses saw he had bruises on his eyes and face, and was limping from a leg injury. On 9 February, a doctor examined him and found there was the possibility of internal bleeding in his left eye, a fracture to one leg and back and identified further bruises on his back. Although the public prosecution referred him on 6 February to a forensic doctor he was only examined on 15 February. It appears that he had not received medical care for his injuries in prison.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

Call for the immediate and unconditional release of George Ramzi Nakhla if he has been arrested solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of assembly;

Call on the Egyptian authorities to Investigate reports of his ill-treatment in police custody and in Tora prison;

Urge the authorities to ensure George Ramzi Nakhla receives adequate medical care.

P LEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 30 MARCH 2012 TO :

Prosecutor General

Counsellor Abd El-Megeed Mahmoud

Dar al-Qadha al-'Ali

Ramses Street

Cairo Egypt

Fax: +202 2 577 4716

Salutation: Dear Counsellor

Minister of Interior

Mohamed Ibrahim Youssef Ahmed

Ministry of Interior

Cairo, Egypt

Fax: +202 2 795 9494, +202 2 794 5529, +202 2 796 0682

Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

DETAINED protestor in egypt ill-treated

ADditional Information

George Ramzi Nakhla participated in protests during the “25 January Revolution” and throughout 2011, including a protest against discrimination against the Copts, the Christian minority in Egypt, in October 2011 where he was beaten during the deadly dispersal by military forces. Amnesty International has documented torture and other ill-treatment against protesters detained in 2011 by police and inside Tora prison, as well as by the armed forces, including severe beating, electrocution in sensitive parts of the body and sexual harassment.

Egyptian authorities continue to use excessive force against protesters a year after the uprising. Since the “25 January Revolution” in 2011, security forces, including soldiers, military police and the Central Security Forces, have routinely been deployed to suppress demonstrations. They have used tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and live ammunition, including shotgun shells, to forcibly disperse protesters, and on several occasions have driven armoured vehicles into packed crowds to scatter and injure them.

Amnesty International believes Central Security Forces (riot police) used lethal force without prior warning in response to protests that took place between 2 and 6 February 2012 in Cairo and Suez and which led to the death of at least 16 people and the injury of hundreds of other. These mostly peaceful protests were organized at the in response to the death of more than 70 football fans from the Al-Ahly club were killed following a football match on 1 February.

The Cairo University Hospitals alone received some 269 injured people during the protests as well as seven of the 11 deaths that took place in the capital.  Most of those injured were suffering from tear gas inhalation or injuries from shotgun pellets, which, in some cases, caused rupture to the eye globe. In Suez, Amnesty International obtained a list of some 85 injured who were treated at the Suez General Hospital, mainly from shotgun pellets and live ammunition. Five people died in the city from gunshots to the chest, head or stomach. The above list included four members of the security forces who were also reported to having been injured by shotgun pellets in Suez.  

Amnesty International delegates witnessed riot police relentlessly firing tear gas at groups of anti-SCAF protesters standing in Cairo's Mansur street and Mohamed Mahmoud street, both leading to the Ministry of Interior and which witnessed the worst clashes.   Riot police used tear gas disproportionately in instances when protesters did not represent an imminent danger to safety. They never gave notice before firing tear gas canisters. Volunteer doctors and witnesses reported security forces intentionally targeted the very field hospitals that were providing first aid treatment to protesters.

Other incidents where security forces have used excessive force against protesters has led to the killing of more than a hundred protesters in the last five months

Despite Egyptian authorities announcements of investigations into events that have led to the killing and injury of protesters, in reality little has been done to hold those responsible to account.

Name: George Ramzi Nakhla

Gender: Male

UA: 56/12 Index: MDE 12/008/2012 Issue Date: 17 February 2012

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