25 June, 2020
Egypt: Human Rights Organizations Condemn Public Prosecutor’s Inaction After Sanaa Seif’s Abduction and Demand Her Immediate Release
This statement was first published by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
The undersigned human rights organizations condemn the series of violations against the family of arbitrarily detained activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, the latest of which was the arrest of his sister Sanaa Seif on Tuesday afternoon, June 23rd. Plainclothes police officers, who did not identify themselves, abducted Sanaa as she was approaching the Public Prosecutor’s Office, attempting to file a report about the assault against her and her family in front of Tora Prison on Monday.
Sanaa Seif has now been brought, as a defendant, before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which ordered her detention for 15 days, pending investigations in case no. 659 of 2020.
In the early morning of Monday June 22nd, a group of women physically assaulted Sanaa Seif, her mother Professor Laila Soueif, and her sister Mona Seif in front of the Tora Prison gate, and stole their personal belongings. Tora Prison security personnel did not intervene to protect them. Sanaa and her family had been staging an overnight sit-in in front of the prison, demanding to check on Alaa Abdel Fattah.
Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family has been unable to communicate with him for three months since the suspension of in-person family visits and the failure to transfer defendants to detention renewal hearings. Accordingly, such an aggressive attitude towards Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family outside the prison raises concerns about his safety inside the prison.
The signatory organizations condemn the Public Prosecutor’s complicity with the security apparatus. The Public Prosecutor has taken no action to protect victims of crimes, even as the appealed for redress. Additionally, the Public Prosecutor’s constant neglect of Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family underscores the necessity of allowing the family to communicate with Alaa in prison and check on his health condition.
The signatories support the demand of Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family to communicate with him, whether by written letter or phone call, as provisioned by the Prisons Regulation Law. Article no. 38 stipulates that “… Every convict has the right to maintain correspondence, and visitation by relatives twice per month, according to the prison regulations. Persons in pretrial detention also have the same right in this regard, unless a decision is issued by the competent public prosecutor or the investigating judge…”
The undersigned organizations call on the Public Prosecutor to immediately release Sanaa Seif and investigate her abduction in front of the Public Prosecution’s office, and previous assaults against her and her family. A central component of any investigation must include the inaction of the Tora Prison security personnel, who failed in their duty to protect them.
- Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
- El Nadim Center
- Freedom Initiative
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
- Belady Center for Rights and Freedoms
- Committee for Justice
- Egyptian Front for Human Rights
- Arabic Network for Human Rights Information