16 September 2016

Egypt: Alkarama Alerts the UN of the Disappearance of a Medical Student

On 14 September 2016, Alkarama referred the case of Abdelrahman Gamal Mohamed Ahmed, an Egyptian medical student who disappeared on 25 August, to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). That day, Gamal Mohamed Ahmed was abducted by members of the National Security Agency at 6th of October City, Giza Governorate, and has since gone missing, with the authorities so far refusing to provide information on his fate and whereabouts. His case adds to the thousands of disappearances that occurred in the country, including the recent disappearance of a lawyer in the Giza Governorate.

Abdelrahman Gamal Mohamed Ahmed, a 23-year-old Egyptian medical student who used to work at a lab tests facility on 6th of October City, in Giza, was going to his work place in the morning of 25 August 2016, together with a colleague who is employed in the same area. As reported by the latter who witnessed the abduction, members of the Egyptian National Security Agency dressed in uniforms abducted Gamal Mohamed Ahmed without presenting any warrant nor giving any reason for his arrest. The family remained without any news on the fate and whereabouts of the victim for several days, until they were informed of his abduction by his colleague. Despite several attempts of the family to try to locate him, namely through writing numerous telegrams to various Egyptian authorities, his whereabouts remain unknown and no information has been given to date to his relatives. A lawyer reported that he is allegedly held at the National Security Facility of Sheykh Zeid, Giza Governorate.

“This recurrent pattern of enforced disappearances at the hands of the Egyptian authorities is alarming and unfortunately ever-present in the country” said Simone Di Stefano, Alkarama’s Regional Legal Officer for the Nile, who added that “this is the last of a long series of cases of disappeared individuals, as reported by various human rights organisations, yet still representing the tip of the iceberg of a vaster and increasing phenomenon.”

In light of the increasing number of enforced disappearances reported in Egypt, with the last case concerning Gamal Mohamed Ahmed, Alkarama asked the WGEID to promptly intervene with the Egyptian authorities and to request clarification of the fate and whereabouts of the victim. In April 2016, Alkarama had sent a general allegation to the WGEID to raise its concern over the systematic character of this practice. Alkarama thus calls on the Egyptian authorities to first release all individuals secretly detained and to place them under the protection of the law. It further urges them to immediately halt this recurrent practice that constitutes a crime against humanity and to urgently open prompt, independent and impartial investigations into every report of enforced disappearance, while prosecuting and punishing its authors accordingly.

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Egypt - HR Instruments

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

ICCPR: Ratified on 14.01.1982
Optional Protocol: No

State report: Overdue since 01.11.2004 (4th)
Last concluding observations: 28.11.2002

Convention against Torture (CAT)

CAT: Accessed on 25.06.1986
Optional Protocol: No
Art. 20 (Confidential inquiry): Yes
Art. 22 (Individual communications): No

State report: Due on 25.06.2016 (initially due in 2004)
Last concluding observations: 23.12.2002

International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)


Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Last review: 02.2010 (1st cycle)
Next review: 2014 (2nd cycle)

National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)

National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) – Status A

Last review: 10.2006
Next review: Deferred