Security forces dispersed on Monday a rally of families of enforced disappearance victims in front of the state-funded National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).
Security forces harassed a number of journalists assigned to cover the rally and briefly detained nine of them, forcing them to delete all photos they captured of the rally, ANHRI reported.
The nine journalists were released after the security forces verified their identities.
The rally was arranged in response to the NCHR statement regarding enforced disappearance cases, which stated that families’ reports and complaints laced sufficient information about their children’s names and disappearance conditions, as well as alleged suspects.
During the rally, the families held charts including their children’s names and dates of disappearance, along with their pictures. They also demanded to know the whereabouts of their children.
Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar stressed that Egypt has zero forced disappearance cases in an interview with the Middle East News Agency (MENA) in March.
He also denied the phenomenon of police brutality in several previous press conferences, stating that these incidents are individual cases that do not represent the ministry as a whole.
Abdel Ghaffar made his statements in response to several claims by human rights institutions that documented thousands of enforced disappearance cases in Egypt. He claimed that these institutions are working in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood to spread rumours to terrorise citizens and to hinder the Interior Ministry from securing the country.
According to various reports, there were approximately 1,500 cases of enforced disappearance in 2015. Several international and local human rights organisations have expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Egypt.
Also several reports have documented violations carried out by security forces against journalists during covering events. On Sunday, Journalists Against Torture (JATO) reported that at least 30 violations against journalists were recorded in the past week.