President of Italian Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico in Egypt: we ask for justice for victims of torture and enforced disappearances

Egypt, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

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Press Release

Brussels, 14 September 2018

Ahead of his official visit to Egypt on 15 and 16 September, EuroMed Rights urges the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico to highlight the detrimental climate against rights and liberties in Egypt.

EuroMed Rights urges Mr Fico to remind his interlocutors that Egyptian authorities have made no earnest attempt at accountability on Giulio Regeni’s case. On the contrary, those attempting to shed light on the case are being punished. One such example is Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy’s case, a human rights lawyer who founded the Association of the Families of the Disappeared and was providing legal advice to the Regeni family. He has been accused of founding an illegal organisation and has now spent one year in pre-trial detention. Another example of retaliation for providing support to the Regeni family is the arrest of Amal Fathi, wife of the executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), last May.

The Regeni case is far from being isolated. In fact, 1,520 cases of enforced disappearances have been documented by ECRF between July 2013 and August 2018. And more than 60,000 people are currently detained in Egypt, in dreadful detention conditions, where torture is rife. There is a widespread torture policy fed by the total impunity of security forces and acquiescence at the highest level of the state.

Only two months ago, on 17 July, Egypt’s Parliament passed a law that encourages this climate of impunity: it aims at exempting some high-ranking army officials from legal accountability for potential crimes committed from June 2013 to July 2016, which includes mass killings perpetrated by the army and riot police. This law provides reassurance to those involved in serious human rights violations or, even worse, it sends the message that these actions are recompensed by the government. The politicised judiciary and lack of enforcement of human rights, including those contained within the Egyptian constitution, only strengthen this vicious circle.

EuroMed Rights calls on Roberto Fico to clarify publicly and privately that the nature and extent of the two countries’ relations will depend on the Egyptian authorities putting an end to policies that systematically violate their obligations under international human rights law, as well as the Egyptian Constitution of 2014. This includes shedding light on what really happened to Giulio Regeni.

Read it in Italian.