Back to top

Ezzat Ghoneim Arrested

Status: 
Release ordered
About the situation

Human rights defender Ezzat Ghoneim disappeared from Al Haram police station 10 days after he was granted conditional release on 4 September 2018. He remained unlawfully detained until 13 September 2018, when police officers informed his wife of his alleged release.

On 4 September, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of Ezzat Ghoneim on bail.

On 9 May, the State Security Prosecutor renewed the detention of Ezzat Ghoneim for an additional 15 days pending investigation.

On 4 March human rights lawyer and executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), Ezzat Ghoneim, was detained by State Security in Cairo.

About Ezzat Ghoneim

hrd_ezzat_ghneim.jpgEzzat Ghoneim is a human rights defender and lawyer focusing on fair trial guarantees and enforced disappearances. Since 2014, he has served as executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an Egyptian human rights organisation which works on arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, medical negligence and torture inside prisons.

2 November 2018
Enforced disappearance of human rights defenders

Human rights defender Ezzat Ghoneim disappeared from Al Haram police station 10 days after he was granted conditional release on 4 September 2018. He remained unlawfully detained until 13 September 2018, when police officers informed his wife of his alleged release. The whereabouts of the human rights defender have been unknown ever since. Cases of enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, after courts ruling in their favor, have become a frequent practice in Egypt in recent months.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Ezzat Ghoneim is a human rights defender and lawyer focusing on the right to fair trial and enforced disappearances. Since 2014, he has served as executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, a human rights organisation which works on arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, medical negligence and torture inside prisons.

On 4 September 2018, Ezzat Ghoneim was granted conditional release. However, Al-Haram police station refused to release him and justified the decision by stating that they were waiting for “instructions from the National Security Agency”. Even though on 13 September 2018, the human rights defender’s wife was told by police officers that her husband was released, he has not been seen ever since. The authorities are denying any link to his disappearance.

Ezzat Ghoneim was detained on 1 March 2018 in relation to case No. 441, 2018, known as the “media activism” case, along with a number of Egyptian journalists whose investigative reporting aimed to expose high level corruption in the Egyptian government. The charges against him also include “membership of an unlawful organization”.

This is only one example of how the State Security Agency systematically bypasses judiciary rulings in Egypt; several human rights defenders who were released by court rulings have been disappeared from the places of their detention. Haytham Mohamadeen, a lawyer, labour rights defender and member of El-Naddim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, was forcibly disappeared between the decision of his conditional release on 10 October and the time he was released on 29 October 2018. During this time, neither his family nor his lawyer were informed of the human rights defenders' whereabouts. It is suspected that he was held at the State Security Agency.

On 14 October 2018, human rights defender and lawyer Sayed El Banna was arrested on charges of belonging to a banned group. No one knew his whereabouts, until he appeared blindfolded before the State Security Prosecution 3 days after his arrest. Sayed el Banna’s pre-trial detention is renewed every 15 days and can be renewed for a period of up to 150 days by the State Security Prosecution.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern over the increasingly difficult situation of human rights defenders in Egypt. Since 2014, increasing restrictions on civil society and peaceful public protests are being imposed and numerous human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and peaceful protesters face travel bans, unlawful arrests and judicial harassment. In this challenging context, the State Security’s practice of disappearing human rights defenders, ignoring judicial decisions in their favour, is particularly worrying.

6 March 2018
Two human rights defenders arrested

UPDATE: On 9 May, the State Security Prosecutor renewed the detention of Ezzat Ghoneim for an additional 15 days pending investigation. 

On 4 March human rights lawyer and executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), Ezzat Ghoneim, was detained by State Security in Cairo. The following day, the State Security Prosecution renewed the detention of Ahmed Tarek Ibrahim Ziada for an additional 15 days following his arrest on 18 February. He is under investigation on charges  of "membership of a terrorist organization” and “publishing false news" in case No. 467 (2018).

Download the Urgent Appeal

Ezzat Ghoneim is a human rights defender and lawyer focusing on fair trial guarantees and enforced disappearances. Since 2014, he has served as executive director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an Egyptian human rights organisation which works on arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, medical negligence and torture inside prisons.

Ezzat Ghoneim was arrested at 6.30 pm on 1 March 2018 and his whereabouts were undisclosed until 5 March 2018, when the defender’s lawyer reported that he was being investigated by State Security Prosecution. On 4 March 2018, Ezzat Ghneim was interrogated by in Cairo in the absence of his legal representatives, despite the fact that they had been waiting until 11.00 pm on 3 March to represent the human rights defender.  The detention center where he is being held remains unknown to his family and legal representatives.

Ezzat Ghoneim has been added as a suspect in case No. 441 of 2018, known as the “media activism” case, along with a number of Egyptian journalists, including Hassan El-Banna Mubarak and Mustafa Al-Aasar, and Moataz Wadnan, whose investigative reporting aimed to expose high level corruption in the Egyptian government. The charges in the case include “membership of an unlawful organization”.

Ahmed Tarek Ibrahim Ziada is a human rights defender and editor of “Minus 1095” a documentary film on human rights violations during the Egyptian revolution. On Monday, 5 March 2018, Egypt’s State Security Prosecution renewed his detention for an additional 15 days.

The human rights defender was arrested by security forces at 3.00 am on 18 February 2018 at his family home in Nahia village in the Giza governorate. Security forces confiscated his mobile phone and computer, interrogated him for approximately one hour and then took him to an undisclosed location. He has been held in Egypt’s State Security custody since that time. The human rights defender reported being subjected to “physical and mental torture” and on 21 February 2018, was interrogated in the absence of his lawyer.

Front Line Defenders condemns the judicial harassment of human rights defenders Ezzat Ghoneim and Ahmed Tarek Ibrahim Ziada as it believes it to be in retaliation for their work in protecting and promoting human rights in Egypt.