Fate of missing lawyer, doctor remains ambiguous amid detention allegations

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

The Front to Defend Egyptian Lawyers (FDEL) launched a new online campaign on Friday, calling for the release of lawyer Mohamed Sadek who has been missing since 30 August.

According to the campaign, Sadek was heading to the Giza railway station last Tuesday, and was allegedly detained, yet his whereabouts remain unknown.

Sadek’s case forms part of a number of reported enforced disappearance cases over the past week. The Doctors Syndicate contacted the Interior Ministry and National Council for Human Right (NCHR) on Thursday, requesting that they look into the disappearance of a doctor on 28 August.

Hafez Abou Saada, an NCHR member, told Daily News Egypt on Saturday that the council is still receiving more cases of enforced disappearances despite ongoing efforts. Earlier in 2016, the council had submitted a list of missing cases to the Interior Ministry for examination.

Abou Saada reiterated the council’s recommendations to eradicate this practice in light of recent reported cases. “The law should be enforced, which allows detainees to make two phone calls to their lawyers and families,” he said.

“The Interior Ministry has the right to arrest someone if there is proven evidence against him or her, but their whereabouts must be disclosed,” he added.

According to Abou Saada, Articles 280, 281, and 282 of the penal code must be amended to classify enforced disappearance as a crime and explicitly penalise those who practice it.

FDEL’s campaign said that Sadek has been defending prisoners held in the maximum security Torah prison, known as Al-Aqrab prison. Since 2013, this prison in particular has been a destination for hundreds who were tried on terrorism-related charges.

Meanwhile, doctor Abdel Wahab went missing last Sunday while he was heading to his work in Al-Haram district. His phone was switched on all day on Sunday but there was no response to any calls, according to a statement by the Doctors Syndicate. His phone was then switched off.

On the occasion of the international day of recognition for enforced disappearance cases, Amnesty International published a report on Monday documenting cases of the practice in different countries around the world, including Egypt.

Despite the continued news and discussion over the practice and families’ complaints to state officials, no action has been taken by the Egyptian government to limit enforced disappearances, and Egypt has not signed any convention to criminalise the practice.

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