The extreme discrepancy in the official account of the death of the Egyptian economist and member of the Reform and Development Party, Ayman Mohamed Hadhoud, casts a lot of doubt about its circumstances, and clearly indicates that we are facing a new case of cold-blooded murder outside the framework of the law, the Committee for Justice said on Thursday.
CFJ indicated that throughout that period, the Hadhoud family went through a difficult journey, in which they were constantly concerned about his fate. They were informed, only three days after his disappearance, on February 8, 2022, that he was at the Amiriya Police Station and that they had to go to pick him up. But when they went to the station, they were told that the National Security agency was investigating him, and that the family would be notified as soon as the investigation was over to collect him, without providing them with any information about the investigation and its content. After pressure from the family, they were told on February 11, 2022, that Hodhoud was under investigation for a theft crime, amid his family’s astonishment.
The organization added that on February 15, 2022, Hudhoud’s family learned, through some of his party colleagues, that he was being held in the Abbasiya Psychiatric Hospital. When they went to visit him, the hospital director told them that he was not there, and his name was not included in any hospital admission record. But after the interventions of his colleagues, the director of the hospital told them that he was in a ward called the “observation ward”, but that he could only be visited by permission from the Egyptian Public Prosecutor (the Public Prosecutor), and that he was imprisoned for theft of an apartment belonging to the Zainhum Court. The family then went to the court to ask about the details of that theft case, but they were told that there were no records of his imprisonment pending any case.
The organization stated that the Hadhoud family had sent several communications to the Public Prosecutor and Minister of Interior to reveal his whereabouts, but without a response. Mr. Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, a member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights and head of the Reform and Development Party, went to the Public Prosecutor to talk to him about the location of the deceased or the reason for the investigation, and the Public Prosecutor responded that he was not registered pending any cases, until they were officially notified of his death.
CFJ added that as soon as the Hadhoud family received his body, it asked the Nasr City prosecutor to perform an autopsy, which he agreed to, and the autopsy was conducted at Zeinhom Morgue on April 11, 2022, amid refusal from the security authorities for a doctor belonging to the family of the deceased to attend the autopsy process to determine the real circumstances of his death. Additionally, the vicinity of the morgue witnessed an intense security presence. However, the deceased’s brother was able to inspect and photograph the corpse, after which the security authorities forced him to erase those photographs.
The deceased’s brother said that he noticed some fractures in his brother’s skull, as well as some bruises resulting from the beating, which are not related to the change in the color of the body due to the passage of 36 days since the death, and he also noticed the growth of his beard with a length ranging from 3 to 4 mm, which is about a week’s growth period, and he said this was the period of his brother’s detention in the station and his torture, and when he arrived at the Abbasiya Hospital he was already dead.
Hadhoud’s brother confirmed that he was pressured by the authorities because of his statements that there was a contradiction in the official version of his brother’s death. He was asked on April 11, 2022, to go to the Nasr City Prosecution to provide his statements regarding the incident and obtain a burial permit, and when he was able to obtain a burial permit without going to the prosecution, he was asked again to go to the prosecution on April 12, 2022. The deceased’s brother expects to be interrogated about his interventions on some satellite channels and his statements to human rights organizations about the circumstances of his brother’s death.
CFJ stressed that the discrepancy in the official statements issued by the Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Interior confirms that the death was unnatural and that behind it were criminal circumstances and human rights violations that must be revealed. In its statement, the Public Prosecution said that Hadhoud was “psychologically disturbed” and tried to break the door of an apartment in the Qasr al-Nil area, which prompted it to put him in the Abbasiya Psychiatric Hospital, while the Ministry of the Interior statement talked about the theft of a car.
CFJ demanded the opening of an extensive and transparent investigation into the circumstances of the enforced disappearance and murder of Ayman Hadhoud, and the accountability of those responsible for all the violations committed against him.
The organization also called on the Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate to open a serious investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Hadhood and his death, including the doctors responsible for his detention at the Abbasiya Psychiatric Hospital, to reveal the nature and level of the current relationship between the hospital and the National Security Agency; to ensure that it does not turn into an unofficial detention facility for the security authorities, and to ensure that there are no similar cases inside the hospital.
CFJ also reserves the right to file complaints to the UN bodies to look into the circumstances of Hadhoud’s death, after obtaining the necessary permits from his family.