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Dr. Ahmed Amasha Tortured in Detention

Status: 
Detained, Tortured
About the situation

On 27 April 2017, the State Security Prosecution in New Cairo decided to prolong the detention of human rights defender, Dr. Ahmed Amasha, for an additional fifteen days pending investigation. The prosecution also agreed to present Ahmed Amasha for medical examination to determine whether or not he had been tortured. According to a statement issued by the human rights defender, he was subjected to torture by agents of the State Security Investigation Service during the first two weeks of his detention.

About Ahmed Amasha

ahmed_amasha.jpgAhmed Amasha is an Egyptian human rights defender and co-founder of the League for Families of the Disappeared. The league is a forum for families of victims of enforced disappearance, providing legal support for its members and helping them to file complaints to the office of the public prosecutor in cases of disappearances. The league also organises media campaigns for the disappeared as well as pubic rallies in front of the Press syndicate. It has also organised  seminars and workshops with human rights organisations, such as El Nadeem Centre, the Hisham Muabrak Law Center, and the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms.  Ahmed Amasha is also a member of the “Kefaya” opposition movement, a trade unionist and an active environmental rights defender. Ahmed Amasha is a veterinarian and head of the veterinarian syndicate.

28 April 2017
Tortured in Detention

On 27 April 2017, the State Security Prosecution in New Cairo decided to prolong the detention of human rights defender, Dr. Ahmed Amasha, for an additional fifteen days pending investigation. The prosecution also agreed to present Ahmed Amasha for medical examination to determine whether or not he had been tortured. According to a statement issued by the human rights defender, he was subjected to torture by agents of the State Security Investigation Service during the first two weeks of his detention.

Ahmed Amasha is an Egyptian human rights defender and co-founder of the League for Families of the Disappeared. The League is a forum for families of victims of enforced disappearance which provides legal support for its members and helps them to file complaints to the office of the public prosecutor regarding disappearances. The League also organises media campaigns for the disappeared as well as pubic rallies in front of the Press syndicate.

Ahmed Amasha was detained on 10 March 2017. Since then he has been presented to the State Security Prosecution on three occasions. In the first session, on 1 April 2017, Ahmed Amasha was interrogated in the absence of his lawyer. Dr. Amasha was presented again to the Prosecution on 12 April 2017 where it was decided that his detention would be prolonged for fifteen days. During that session, the human rights defender was presented with charges under terrorism legislation which has been used as a means of cracking down on human rights defenders in Egypt. On 27 April 2017, the Prosecution yet again prolonged his detention for an additional fifteen days and agreed for him to be medically assessed in response to his complaints of torture. The following is a testimony by Dr. Ahmed Amasha describing his torture following his arrest;

‘I got arrested on 10 March and after that I was immediately transferred to Al-Abasiyyah (where the new State Security Investigation Service office is located). I learned where I was from the people who were with me. My hands were cuffed behind my back and my eyes were blindfolded from the time I was arrested until I was summoned before the prosecution (about one month following the arrest). On the first day of my arrest, they took off all my clothes and hung me by my hands – which were still bound behind my back. I was forced to sleep on my back. I was given electric shocks on the days 10 and 12 of my detention. On the second day they threatened to rape me if I did not admit that I did things which I had not done. When I refused to do so they inserted a stick into my anus. They threatened that they would bring my wife and my daughters and rape them. Alhamdullilah (all praise be to Allah) the way they treated me changed a great deal after the third day. The torture stopped and the treatment became better. But they continued to cover my eyes and bind my hands from behind. They always referred to me as number 1. And when the torture stopped I felt that there must have been a campaign to support me and that people were talking about me.’

Torture is often used in order to extract forced evidence in fabricated cases as a way to deter human rights defenders from carrying out their work. According to El Nadeem Centre, people who have disappeared in Egypt, as was initially the case with Dr. Ahmed Amasha, are likely to experience isolation, intimidation and frequently torture as a means to extract forced confessions.

Front Line Defenders condemns the torture of Dr. Ahmed Amasha and urges a prompt, thorough and independent investigations into his treatment while in detention with the aim of providing him protection. Front Line Defenders also calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Ahmed Amasha as it believes that he is being detained, tortured and ill-treated solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights.
 

15 March 2017
Continued disappearance of Dr. Ahmed Amasha

On 10 March 2017, human rights defender Dr. Ahmed Amasha disappeared following his arrest at a police checkpoint in Cairo. It has been six days since his enforced disappearance and the Egyptian authorities have yet to release any information concerning the human rights defender.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Several witnesses, including Ahmed Amasha’s family members, saw the arrest of the human rights defender by Egyptian state officials at a police checkpoint in Nasr, Cairo. Egyptian officials have since refused to provide any information about the arrest, where he is being detained, or any charges against him. In the past few months, the human rights defender has been particularly active in providing support for El Nadeem Centre, whose premises were closed on 9 February 2017. Twelve Egyptian human rights organisations and several human rights defenders issued a statement in support of Ahmed Amasha, condemning his disappearance and demanding that the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior and the General Prosecutor of Egypt reveal the location of Ahmed Amasha and ensure that enforced disappearances stop.

The number of cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt is increasing. This tactic is often used to extract forced evidence in fabricated cases as a way to deter human rights defenders from carrying out their work. According to El Nadeem Centre, people who have disappeared in Egypt are likely to experience isolation, intimidation and quite frequently torture as a means to extract forced confessions. Front Line Defenders expresses its deep concern about the physical safety and security of Ahmed Amasha as it believes that he is being targeted solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights.
 

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Egypt to:

1. Take all necessary measures to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmed Amasha and guarantee his physical and psychological security and integrity;

2. Ensure that the treatment of Ahmed Amasha, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Ensure that Ahmed Amasha has not been forced or coerced into making false confessions, and allow him immediate and unfettered access to his lawyers;

4. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the disappearance of human rights defender Ahmed Amasha, with a view to ensuring his protection and release, publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

5. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.