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05 September 2016

Egypt: Alkarama Alerts the UN of the Disappearance of a Lawyer

On 2 September 2016, Alkarama referred the case of Mohammad Mahmoud Sadeq Ahmed, an Egyptian lawyer who disappeared on 30 August, to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). That day, Mahmoud Sadeq Ahmed was abducted by members of the police forces in Giza train station and has since gone missing, with the authorities refusing to provide information on him. His case adds to the thousands of disappearances that occurred in the country and that Alkarama has been extensively documenting in recent months.

Mahmoud Sadeq Ahmed, a 36 years old Egyptian lawyer defending several prisoners who are currently detained in Al Aqrab prison in Cairo, was accompanying a relative to Giza train station on 30 August 2016, when he disappeared. As reported later by his relative, who was also abducted but later released, members of the Egyptian police forces arrested both men, handcuffed and blindfolded them, without giving any specific reason. Despite several attempts of the family to try to locate him, his whereabouts remain unknown to date and the authorities have so far denied explanations, which in turn qualifies this case as enforced disappearance. His family was never informed of his fate and whereabouts, and he has not been presented before a judicial authority, as prescribed by national law.

This case follows a recurrent practice of disappearances, occurring in the last years, and targeting human rights defenders, activists, members of the opposition and journalists in Egypt. In April 2016, Alkarama sent a general allegation to the WGEID to raise its concern over the systematic character of this practice.

"In the past months, thousands of individuals have disappeared, specifically real or alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and have been undergoing prolonged times of secret detention and torture at the hands of the Egyptian authorities," said Simone Di Stefano, Alkarama's Regional Legal Officer for the Nile. "We are extremely worried when it comes to such cases, which unfortunately do not constitute isolated episodes, as the disappeared individuals remain extremely vulnerable being often subjected to torture and not benefitting from any judicial process whatsoever".

In light of the increasing number of enforced disappearances reported in Egypt, with the last case concerning Mahmoud Sadeq Ahmed, Alkarama asked the WGEID to promptly intervene with the Egyptian authorities and to ask for clarification of the fate and whereabouts of the victim. Alkarama urges the Egyptian authorities to adopt a national plan to fight enforced disappearances and to open prompt, independent and impartial investigations into every report of enforced disappearance, while prosecuting and punishing its authors accordingly.

For more information or an interview, please contact the media team to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Tel: +41 22 734 1008).

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