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Egypt: Further information on prisoners of conscience / fear of further POCs and new concern: fear of torture

, N° d'index: MDE 12/037/1997

Hamdein Sabbahi, journalist; Mohammad 'Abdu, veterinarian; Mohammad Sulayman Fayyad, lawyer; Hamdi Haykal, lawyer: There is concern at reports that the above four people were severely beaten and tortured following their arrest on 17 June 1997. Amnesty International is continuing to call for their immediate and unconditional release as prisoners of conscience.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 12/37/97
24 June 1997
Further information on UA 183/97 (MDE 12/36/97, 19 June 1997- Prisoners of
conscience / Fear of further POCs), new concern Fear of Torture
EGYPT Hamdein Sabbahi, journalist
Mohammad ‘Abdu, veterinarian
Mohammad Sulayman Fayyad, lawyer
Hamdi Haykal, lawyer
Amnesty International has received reports that the four men mentioned above
have been tortured. Following their arrest on 17 June and their interrogation
they were taken to Tora Penitentiary in the early hours of 18 June. They were
allegedly put in a small cell and were forced to take off their clothes and
were left standing in their underwear. Then they were tortured by security
officers reportedly for about four hours. They were made to face the wall while
being kicked, beaten with a stick and whipped. They were said to have lost
consciousness at times but the beating continued. They were then immediately
transferred to the High Security Prison in Tora (commonly known as the Scorpion
Prison), where detainees, mostly alleged members of illegal Islamist groups,
have had no access to lawyers and families since December 1993 following a
ban imposed by the Ministry of the Interior. There they were held in a very
small cell, isolated from other detainees.
The four men’s lawyers and families did not know their whereabouts until 19
June, but they were unable to visit them that day because of the ban. However,
Hamdein Sabbahi’s wife, Siham Nagm, obtained permission to visit her husband
on 21 June. She saw marks of torture on her husband’s body. After he had told
her about what had happened she alerted local human rights organizations and
journalists and she lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights Legal
Aid and the Journalists’ Syndicate all lodged complaints with the Ministry
of the Interior and the Public Prosector’s Office protesting about the alleged
torture of the four men and calling for an investigation as well as for their
immediate release.
On 23 June the four people were brought to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and
were questioned in connection with their alleged torture. They were promised
to be referred to forensic medical doctors on 24 June.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English, French, Arabic or in your own language:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the four people
mentioned above who are held as prisoners of conscience;
- expressing deep concern about their alleged torture;
- urging that a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation be carried out
into the allegation of torture, that the methods and findings of this
investigation be made public and that anyone implicated in perpetrating the
torture against the four people be brought to justice without delay;
- seeking assurances that the four men are protected from any form of torture
and ill-treatment, and that they have access to their lawyers, families and
to medical care.
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN
Salutation: Your Excellency
General Hassan al-Alfy
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
Al-Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo
Telex: 21361 MOICM UN
Fax: +202 355 7792
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Cairo, Egypt
Salutation: Dear Minister
Ms Nayla Gabr
The Human Rights Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
Faxes: +202 574 9808
Mr Raga' al-'Arabi
Public Prosecutor
Dar al-Qadha al-'Ali
Ramses Street
Dr Fathi Sorour
The People's Assembly
Magles al-Sha'ab Street, Cairo, Egypt
and to diplomatic representatives of Egypt accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 August 1997.

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