Thousands of arrests in 2015 cause overcrowding in cells: NCHR

Menan Khater
4 Min Read
A total of 1,552 violations were documented against 761 students who have been arrested during the last academic year, most of whom belong to SAC. (AFP/ file photo)

At least 418 people were arrested during October on charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, according to interior ministry reports.

Daily News Egypt aggregated the reports published by the ministry from 1 October through 29 October. The arrested were mainly categorised as middle-ranking Brotherhood members, members of specialised committees, or people wanted pending court sentences.

Out of the 418 arrested, 248 were arrested on suspicion of being middle-ranking Brotherhood members, while the remaining 170 were arrested on charges of belonging to specialised committees.

Since the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood group in December 2013, a crackdown on all its leaders, members, supporters and those suspected of belonging to it was undertaken by security forces, leading to the arrest of thousands. Some of them received life sentences, while others remain in pre-trial detention.

Deputy Interior Minister Kamal El-Daly said 11,877 were arrested since the beginning of 2015 on charges of belonging to the Brotherhood, with a total of 171 “terrorist cells”, in an interview with state-run Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.

In September the rate of arrests remained relatively the same. According to the official reports 264 were arrested in September, fewer than August when 343 were arrested. At the same time a report by the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) documented 215 cases of forced disappearances during the same month.

The ECRF, an independent watchdog for arrests, launched an online campaign against forced disappearances, which have increased in recent months.

Under the hashtag Stop Enforced Disappearances, hundreds of people tweeted pictures and stories of people who recently disappeared. The majority of those who were reported missing were minors and students.

Hafez Abo Saada, director of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), told Daily News Egypt: “The number of prisoners on criminal charges is already high; when we add to them this number of political prisoners, it creates crowded cells and deteriorated life conditions, even with building new prisons now.”

“There should be new strategies to reduce the number of arrests. This caqn be done by issuing different penalties, or applying the electronic bracelet for tracking movements of temporary detainees instead of putting them inside cells in the temporary detentions”, he added.

The interior ministry reports added that 200 people were arrested in July because they were wanted on cases for arrest, out of 667 people arrested during the month.

In its statements, the ministry usually mentions numbers only, which indicates arrests across Egypt. However, in two of its statements regarding arrests on similar charges in October, it fully disclosed the defendants’ names, ages, addresses, and other personal details, labelling them Brotherhood members at the time of arrest, before they received a court verdict.

“Any family has the right to know the arrest details for their sons or relatives, but it is not preferred that they be made public if they are still defendants, as it may affect the person’s reputation,” Abo Saada said.

The first statement, which came in late October, charged a citizen from Assiut with forming a terrorist cell in his home, and while the security forces were heading to arrest him he exchanged fire with them and was shot dead with a live bullet in his back.

In another statement the interior ministry said it arrested a relative of the popular football player Mohamed Abu-Trika for forming a Facebook page inciting against the regime.

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Politics and investigative reporter for Daily News Egypt. Initiator and lead instructor of DNE's special reporting project for university students 'What Lies Beyond.' Facebook:
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