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UA 508/90 - Egypt: fear of torture: Mustafa Mohammad Said al-Sharqawi, Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Ibrahim Sallam, Hassan Mohammad Isma'il Mohammad

, Index number: MDE 12/013/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 12/13/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 508/90 Fear of torture 18 December 1990
EGYPT : Mustafa Mohammad Said al-Sharqawi
Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Ibrahim Sallam
Hassan Mohammad Isma'il Mohammad
Amnesty International is concerned at reports that the three men named above
are being subjected to torture. All three appear to be prisoners of conscience,
detained because they are Muslims who have converted to Christianity. Mustafa
Mohammad Said al-Sharqawi and Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Ibrahim Sallam were
arrested at the end of September 1990 and Hassan Mohammad Isma'il Mohammad
in October. Mustafa Mohammad Said al-Sharqawi is being held at Abu Za'abal
Prison, while the other two men are said to be detained at the State Security
Intelligence Police (SSIP) detention centre in Heliopolis. Amnesty
International is particularly concerned about the treatment of detainees held
at SSIP centres, where torture is frequently inflicted.
The three men are held under State of Emergency legislation, which permits
detainees to be held without charge or trial and to challenge the legality
of their detention before a court after 30 days. Although a court ordered
their release, the Ministry of Interior appealed against the verdict and they
remained in detention until a second court hearing, on 16 December, again ruled
that they should be released. Two of the prisoners appeared at the hearing.
Both were said to be in bad physical condition, suffering from hunger and
the effects of continuing torture, including electric shocks. Despite the
second court release order, against which the Ministry of Interior has no right
of appeal, the three prisoners were not released. Instead, the Ministry of
Interior issued a new arrest order to keep them in detention: this appears
to be an abuse of legal procedures designed to prevent arbitrary detention.
Each year recently Amnesty International has learned of a number of cases where
Muslims who have converted to Christianity have been detained, sometimes for
months at a time, apparently because of their non-violent expression of their
conscientiously-held beliefs. It has also expressed its concern on many
occasions about the arbitrary arrest and torture of thousands of political
detainees held under State of Emergency legislation and about cases when the
Ministry of Interior has flouted the law by keeping prisoners in detention
after the courts have ordered their release.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- urging the immediate, unconditional release of the three men, citing their
names, if they are held on account of their conscientiously-held religious
beliefs and nothing more;
- inquiring about the legal grounds and the reasons for their continuing
detention, in particular any charges against them and the evidence on which
these are based;
- expressing concern at reports that two of them appeared in court in poor
health, evidently bearing signs of torture, and urging that steps be taken
immediately to safeguard them from torture;
- urging that they be given immediate and regular access to their families,
their lawyers and to all necessary medical treatment;
- urging the authorities to initiate a thorough, impartial investigation into
the allegations of torture and to bring to justice any official found to be
responsible for torture.
His Excellency
General Mohammad Abdel-Halim Moussa
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
Al-Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab el-Louq
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 21361 MOICM UN
Faxes: + 20 2 724 241, Attn: Head of the Legal Department,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a request to forward to
the Minister of Interior
His Excellency
Faruq Sayf al-Nasr
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Midan Lazoughli
Nasr City
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Telegrams: Minister of Justice, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 92060 KHARG UN
His Excellency Dr Boutros Boutros Ghali
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Maidan al-Tahrir
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
and to diplomatic representatives of Egypt in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 January 1991.

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