DETENTION WATCH “VIOLATIONS IN EGYPTIAN PLACES OF DETENTION” BIMONTHLY REPORT November-December 2018

DETENTION WATCH “VIOLATIONS IN EGYPTIAN PLACES OF DETENTION” BIMONTHLY REPORT November-December 2018

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Following CfJ’s previous periodic reports on human rights violations against detainees in Egyptian places of detention for the entirety of months in 2017 and 2018[1]; Detention Watch project proceeds in this issue to provide an analytical overview of the human rights situation in Egyptian places of detention – formal and informal – during the months of November and December 2018; while holding the authorities accountable of their obligations mandated by law (Egyptian constitution, Egyptian criminal law, and international human rights treaties Egypt has signed). 

The end objective of such periodic reports is to

  • inform national and international stakeholders of the ongoing conditions inside places of detention,
  • enable families of victims and detainees to factually establish claims of illegal and inhumane circumstances that are endured,
  • engage or demand engagement of authorities into a dialogue that can formulate coherent and consistent strategies and legislation that put an end to such violations,
  • support prevention of impunity of human rights violations in places of detention,
  • contribute to the transitional justice mechanisms that this country will or might employ at a later stage

The methodology of this activity primarily entailed monitoring and observing violations being monitored formally and informally on a day-to-day basis. After collecting the primary data, the project team employed the verification tool; a step that is regrettably overlooked by many other human rights organizations reporting in the same field due to difficulties in establishing contact, time consumption and risks associated. Authenticating the data collected is a crucial step to safeguard the credibility of the data presented, and to be able to legally hold the violators accountable with proof. Accordingly, it was imperative for Detention Watch to communicate with the families of each detainee who suffered a violation and verify all the information needed.  All the gathered data whether monitored or verified were finally compiled in this report with a contextual and statistical analysis; while shedding light on the challenges and limitations handled while working on the material.

Key findings that Detention Watch reached can be summarized as follows:

  • 283 incidents of violations in places of detention were monitored in November 2018. In December 2018, 223 incidents of violations were monitored.
  • Arbitrary detention was the number one violation in November 2018. CFJ monitored a total of 157 cases during the month (55.47% of total monitored violations in the month). For the month of December 2018,  extrajudicial killing and death in custody are the most frequent violations observed, where 74 cases were monitored (33.18% of total monitored cases in December 2018).
  • Out of those 283 cases in November, a total of 157 cases of arbitrary detention were monitored (55.47% of monitored violations in November 2018).  Enforced disappearance was the second most frequent violation with 78 incidents monitored (27.5% of monitored violations). Then, came the extrajudicial killing and death in custody with 39 cases (13.7%), medical negligence with 4 cases (1.41%) and torture with 3 cases (1.06/ %). 
  • Sharqia governorate had 30 monitored enforced disappearance incidents at 38.46% of total monitored cases. Cairo governorate is second with 15 cases at 19.23%
  • In November 2018, CFJ monitored 157 incidents of arbitrary detention, 8 of them were women, while 5 of them are lawyers, in addition to 28 human rights activists.  Behira governorate had the highest number of arbitrary detentions in November 2018 with 73 monitored cases at 46.49% of total monitored arbitrary detention cases.
  • CFJ monitored 32 extrajudicial killings in November 2018.
  • CFJ monitored 6 deaths in November 2018 that are due to medical negligence in various places of detention across Egypt, and one death due to unspecified reasons.
  • In November 2018, 3 of the 7 monitored deaths in custody took place in police stations.  
  • CFJ monitored 4 medical negligence incidents in places of detention across Egypt in November 2018.
  • CFJ monitored 3 incidents of torture in places of detention across Egypt in November 2018. Notably, 2 of them taking place in Tora Investigation prison and 1 in the Security Forces Camp of Zagzig.
  • In November 2018, CFJ monitored the enforced disappearance of 2 students, 3 lawyers, 31 human rights activists, and 11 women.
  • The CFJ team monitored 2 incidents of solitary confinement that took place in Tora Investigation Prison.
  • In December 2018, a total of 74 cases of extrajudicial killings or deaths in custody were monitored (33.18% of monitored violations in December 2018). Arbitrary detention was the second most frequent violation with 68 monitored incidents at 30.49% of total monitored cases. Enforced disappearance was the third most frequent violation with 48 incidents monitored amounting to 21.52% of the total detainees, followed by medical negligence with 33 monitored incidents (14.79%).
  • Behira Governorate had the highest number of enforced disappearances with 18 monitored arrests and disappearances (37.5%), followed by Sharqia with 14 monitored cases at 29.16%.
  • In December 2018, CFJ team monitored 68 incidents of arbitrary detention, 5 of which were against women. Arbitrary detention also took place against 3 lawyers and one former minister.
  • Behira governorate had the highest number of arbitrary detentions monitored in December 2018 with 34 cases at 50% of total monitored cases.
  • CFJ monitored 65 extrajudicial killing incidents, 37 of which took place in Giza while 24 occurred in North Sinai, 2 were killed in Minya, one was killed in Gharbia and the last one was killed in Cairo.
  • In December 2018, CFJ monitored 9 deaths in places of detention. 8 of them were due to medical negligence. 6 of the deaths took place in Wadi El-Natron 430 Prison, while one took place in Fayoum Prison. The remaining 2 deaths monitored took place in police stations across Egypt.  
  • The CFJ team monitored 33 incidents of medical negligence in places of detention in December 2018. 
  • In December 2018, four lawyers, 3 women, and 2 human rights activists and one student suffered enforced disappearances.
  • Out of the total cases monitored across the months of November and December 2018, CFJ team verified 67 violation incidents committed against 52 detainees that took place in 22 known places of detention across Egypt.
  • Excluding cases in which the detention place was unknown due to the detainee being under enforced disappearance, the Police Stations category represented the biggest category (with 12 detainees) when it comes to the number of places of detention where violations took place, followed by Prisons (with 9 detainees) and State Security Premises with other 9 detainees. In addition, there was one detainee who suffered violations in Security Forces Camps.
  • The places of detention where violations took place were mostly in Sharqia and Cairo governorates.  Sharqia governorate’s high recorded numbers are due to the high number of violations that took place in police stations across the governorate.
  • By looking at data gathered on all 52 detainees since their arrest, we found that 41 detainees out of the 52 had been subjected to enforced disappearance (78.84% of all verified detainees).
  • Enforced disappearance periods ranged from 1 week to 1 month (48.78% of verified enforced disappearance cases), 1 to 3 months (12.19%), 3 to 6 months (19.51% of verified cases), less than a week (9.75%) and cases of an enforced disappearance lasting for more than six months (at 7.31%).
  • Documentation showed that locations, where detainees were held during their enforced disappearances, included 7 different State Security Premises across Egypt, two police stations and a Security Forces Camp. For 14 detainees, during their enforced disappearance period in State Security Premises and police stations, they were tortured as well.
  • CFJ documented 8 cases of medical negligence in places of detention in November and December 2018. The Tora Investigation Prison and the State Security Premises in Abbasya have the highest number of cases with 4 cases documented. Beside another 2 prisons, there were also El-Salam Police Station and Faqous Police Station that had documented cases of medical negligence. 
  • Looking deeper into data on the documented cases of medical negligence, first, in response to whether the detainees suffering from medical negligence were examined: we found that 18% of 8 detainees were not offered an examination, or were given an insufficient examination which was performed by an unqualified medical practitioner. Second, in response to whether the detainees were offered a diagnosis, 30% were not given a diagnosis. Third, as for whether the needed medicine or surgery was allowed, 33% were not given the medicine or surgery that they need.
  • CFJ team documented 18 cases of arbitrary detention in November and December 2018. All 18 detainees are considered to have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention under category 2 (arrest and detention due to the practice of legitimate rights such as protesting and freedom of expression) and category 3 (severe violations to the principles of a fair trial) of the categories of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 
  • Most detainees who suffered from arbitrary detention are currently imprisoned in State Security Premises and different police stations across Egypt.
  • 17 detainees out of 18 suffering from arbitrary detention are currently held in pre-trial detention. 
  • looking over all documented information of the 52 detainees since their arrest, CFJ found that 17 out of the 52 detainees were tortured following their arrest while 26 detainees are under-enforced disappearance or they are not allowed to receive visits, and thus it is unknown if they suffered from torture. 
  • The 17 detainees were tortured in 11 different places of detention following their arrest, mostly in State Security Premises. Regardless of the place of detention, the majority (14 of the 17 incidents) of torture incidents were committed by State Security Agents.
  • Most detainees who suffered violations are still in pre-trial detention with only 7 serving a sentence after their trial was concluded.
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