The Committee for Justice has urged the Egyptian authorities to disclose the whereabouts of an elderly woman who forcibly disappeared due to her continuous demands for the release of her son, detained since 2021, amidst threats from a National Security officer of her own detention.
Disappearance after Conference Invitation Regarding Detainees:
Mona Badr El Din Khafaja, 60 years old, disappeared on Wednesday 20 September, following her communication with the head of the Conservatives party, Akmal Qurtam. She was invited to attend a conference for the relatives of detainees at the party’s headquarters, in consideration of her son Mohamed Hamdi being detained since 2021 and her continuous calls for his release. Mona’s son, Hamdi, was first arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He was released after serving the sentence only for three months, after which he was re-arrested and forcibly disappeared. He then reappeared in connection with case number 1935 of 2021, where he remains detained to this day.
Threats and Intimidation by the National Security:
CFJ’s documentation team has reported threats and intimidation from the National Security officer in charge of the Ain Shams office towards the family, because of their demands for the son’s release. This forced the family to relocate to the Al Obour area. The mother then disappeared following her communication with the head of the Conservatives party.
Calls to End Enforced Disappearances:
The Committee for Justice affirms that this incident underscores the continuous suffering of political detainees in Egypt – a matter the regime attempted to downplay in national dialogue discussions. This issue has been a source of significant tension within the Egyptian society since the events of June 2013.
CFJ also urges the Egyptian authorities to halt the policy of enforced disappearances and to promptly join the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Additionally, CFJ calls for an amendment to the Egyptian constitutional and legal framework to explicitly criminalize enforced disappearances and penalize its perpetrators, preventing them from evading punishment. CFJ has appealed to the international community and various UN mechanisms to pressure Egyptian authorities to respond to these demands and previous international calls concerning enforced disappearances. CFJ also emphasizes the need to routinely monitor detention places in Egypt to curb the prevalence of this phenomenon, punish those responsible, and prevent them from escaping justice.