Following a complaint by CFJ, UN experts condemn continued detention of a member of Quranist minority in Egypt
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: January 20 2022
UN experts condemned the arrest, enforced disappearance and continued detention of a member of the Quranist minority belief movement in Egypt, a former teacher named Reda Abdul Rahman Ali Mohamed, as well as the inhumane conditions of his detention.
The experts sent a memorandum to the Egyptian authorities on November 16, 2021, based on a complaint submitted by the Committee for Justice about that case, on October 12, 2021, as part of the organization’s efforts to end the injustice of the victims of human rights violations in Egypt.
The experts pointed out that one of the main beliefs of the Quranist movement is that the Qur’an should be the sole basis for Islamic law and guidance, and therefore it conflicts with the religious authority of the hadith, as well as the authority of scholars and clerics to define and interpret the scope of Quranic teachings.
Enforced disappearance and terrorism charges:
The experts explained that on August 22, 2020, the National Security Forces raided the house of Reda Abdul Rahman in the village of Abu Harith, and arrested him without presenting an arrest warrant. Abd al-Rahman was subjected to enforced disappearance for forty-six days (twenty-three days at the National Security headquarters in Kafr Saqr, and thirteen days at the National Security headquarters in Zaranj), where he was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer.
The experts added that on October 6, 2020, Abdul Rahman appeared for the first time before the Kafr Saqr Prosecution, and was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer, and was charged with creating and joining a terrorist organization and planning to target individuals and facilities belonging to the Egyptian army and police. The arrest report was on October 4, 2020 , which is not the actual arrest date (August 22, 2020).
Poor detention conditions:
The experts stated that Abdul Rahman was transferred to the Kafr Saqr police station, and was held in solitary confinement for four days, then was transferred to a very small and overcrowded cell in the same police station, without a mattress to sleep on, and the poor conditions of detention affected his health. The police station administration didn’t takes his appeals for medical treatment into consideration, they even refused to deliver him the medication provided by his wife. He is only allowed to meet with his wife for 10 minutes, behind a wire fence, once a month.
The experts expressed their deep concern about the reported arrest, enforced disappearance, continued detention and judicial harassment of Reda Abdel Rahman, as well as the serious due process violations reported by the relevant state authorities, and their grave concern about the criminalization of his right to free expression. and publicly expressing his religious or other beliefs, and his freedom to exercise this right in society with others.
The experts also expressed their concerns about the conditions of pre-trial detention of Abdul Rahman, and the refusal of the Kafr Saqr Police station to provide appropriate medical treatment for his deteriorating health condition, all of which constitute violations of international human rights rules and principles.
UN demands from Egypt:
At the conclusion of their memorandum, the experts called on the Egyptian authorities to provide the factual and legal basis for the arrest, detention and trial of Reda Abdul Rahman, and the reasons for the continued extension of his pre-trial detention, and to clarify how his prosecution and the criminalisation of his rights to freedom of opinion, expression, thought, conscience, religion or belief, as well as freedom of peaceful assembly and association is compatible with Egypt’s obligations under the international human rights law.
The experts also called on Egypt to provide detailed information on the measures taken to investigate the issue of his enforced disappearance and whether an investigation had been launched to identify and prosecute those responsible, and information on any investigation that was conducted in relation to the reported harsh conditions of detention that Abdul Rahman suffered.
The experts also requested the authorities to provide information on the measures taken to ensure the physical and mental safety of Abdul Rahman during his detention, and his access to appropriate health care in a timely manner.