ALERT EGYPT – Detention of Ibrahim Metwally, prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer

Alerts, Egypt, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

EuroMed Rights is extremely concerned by the detention of Ibrahim Metwally, prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer, found yesterday after he was forcibly disappeared last Sunday.

Arrested by Egyptian authorities in Cairo airport this Sunday morning, Ibrahim Metwally was prevented from travelling as he was on route to Geneva upon invitation from the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances. After two days’ enforced disappearance, Mr. Metwally was interrogated by the State Security Prosecution yesterday, Tuesday 12 September, on charges of: creating and leading an unlawful organisation (i.e. the League of Families of the Disappeared), spreading false news and communicating with foreign entities with the purpose of harming national security (most probably in reference to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances that he was expected to attend).

State Security Prosecution ordered the detention of Mr. Metwally for 15 days pending investigations, and sent him to the high security wing of Tora prison complex.

Mr Metwally is the coordinator and co-founder of the League of Families of the Disappeared, and defends these victims’ rights, reported the “Awqefoo el Ikhtifaa el Qasry” (Stop Enforced Disappearance) campaign. His own son, Amr Ibrahim Metwally, disappeared in 2013, and his whereabouts remain unknown. It was reported as well that Ibrahim Metwally had previously given legal advice to Giulio Regeni’s family during their attempts to shed light on the circumstances of the abduction and murder of the Italian student.

Ibrahim Metwally’s detention occurs in a context of generalised crackdown on dissenting voices in Egypt as Egyptian authorities have recently taken a series of measures to silence the sources of credible information—in Egypt and abroad—on human rights violations.

EuroMed Rights urges the Egyptian authorities to lift the charges against Mr Metwally and to ensure his immediate and unconditional release. Our NGO calls upon the international community, including the EU, to raise this case urgently with the Egyptian authorities, and to urge them to end the harassment and intimidation of lawyers defending human rights, including through arbitrary arrests, interrogations, travel bans, asset freezes and NGO closure orders.


More information on the subject on:
Stop Enforced Disappearance Campaign
Statement by European authorities from the Chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT) here.
Second annual report from the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms on enforced disappearances in Egypt