AOHR Urges UN Prompt, Transparent Investigation Into Egypt Public Prosecutor Assassination
The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain (AOHR) said Egyptian authorities continue to violate citizens' basic human rights under the pretext of combating terrorism, which they have also been using to suppress dissent and demonize all opponents.
AOHR added that the Egyptian regime no longer bothers to make up a logical narrative to justify repression and incarceration of opponents before issuing harsh sentences against them such as the death penalty or life prison terms. This is how they now accuse members of the opposition of the assassination of Egypt's public prosecutor, a murder already blamed on others before.
In a press conference Sunday, Egypt's Interior Minister announced that security agencies arrested those involved in the killing of Egypt's public prosecutor Hisham Barakat in June 2015, and showed a video-clip of the defendants, claiming they confessed to the crime right after their arrest.
The IM's video-clip showed recorded 'confessions' by Mahmoud Ahmadi Abdel-Rahman Ali (born July 15, 1994), Abu Al-Qasim Ali Youssef Mansour (born May 18, 1992), Ahmed Gamal Mahmoud Hegazi (born October 3, 1993), and Mohamed Ahmed Sayed Ibrahim (born November 25, 1989). In the recorded 'confessions', one of the defendants spoke of another person named Ibrahim Sholkami, but the IM did not disclose his fate or whereabouts.
At the press conference, the Interior Minister also stressed that there was not a single case of forced disappearance in Egypt, adding that all detainees in Egyptian prisons were either locked up on remand by public prosecutor orders, or serving jail sentences issued by Egyptian courts.
However, from the accused's recorded confessions, it seemed clear that the statements were being dictated onto them.
Meanwhile, the minister did not offer a single material proof, just like all accusations made against dissidents before, without any backing evidence - only confessions under torture or so-called secret National Security Service investigations.
According to three earlier official statements from the IM, three different groups of opponents have already been charged with the murder of Hisham Barakat, Egypt's former public prosecutor.
The first of those was an official statement by the IM on July 2, 2015 in which it was announced that IM security agencies executed 9 Muslim Brotherhood leaders in an apartment in the Sixth of October City (Giza governorate) who resisted arrest for the assassination of public prosecutor Barakat. At the time, the IM announced also that a former army officer, named Hisham Ali Ashmawy, was involved in that incident.
At a press conference on October 30, 2015, Major General Kamal Al-Dali, then first assistant to the interior minister for public security, announced that security agencies were unable to determine the identity of public prosecutor Barakat's assassins as yet.
Then, on February 3 (2016), the IM announced once again that its forces executed a new group of 'assassins' responsible for the killing of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat in an apartment in Maadi as they resisted arrest. It named those as: Mohamed Abbas Hussein Gad, 32, and Mohamed Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Karim (24 years).
Now, in its latest press conference, the coup regime's IM is making the same assassination charges and accusations against new defendants.
At the end of February 2016, AOHR received complaints from families of some of the defendants in that case affirming that state security agencies had subjected their loved ones to enforced disappearance. They stated that Ahmed Gamal Hegazi was arrested on February 22 near the Institute of Medical Analysis (Faculty of Science - University Al-Azhar in Cairo) where he studied, while Mahmoud Ahmadi Abdel-Rahman Ali was arrested on February 29 near his residence in Nasr city, and Abu Al-Qasim Ali Yousef Mansour was arrested in Nasr city on February 29, too.
Also, the student Ibrahim Ahmed Sholkami – born on September 13, 1993 – was subjected to enforced disappearance since February 22. He was named in the latest recorded confessions, but did not appear in the said video-clip, and the IM has not disclosed his fate or whereabouts as yet.
The mentioned students' families lodged many official complaints with the public prosecutor and the IM after their arrest. AOHR also contacted the IM and the Presidency as well as the Prime Minister and the National Council for Human Rights, but received no response.
The students' families said they were unable to visit their loved ones (still under arrest) even after their appearance in the IM's latest statement. Their place of detention is still unknown, with Egyptian security apparatuses stubbornly refusing to give any information about them. Meanwhile, the public prosecutor refuses to give lawyers any information about the students' legal position or to allow them to meet their clients as prescribed by the law.
AOHR affirms that narratives provided by the Egyptian authorities cannot be trusted entirely. It was evident, in many previous cases, that authorities trumped up charges against innocent people and sentenced the dead, infants and persons who had been for long detainees in Israeli jails.
AOHR calls on the UN Secretary-General to set up a commission of inquiry into the assassination of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat to uncover the truth and bring those responsible for this crime to justice.
Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain
Monday – March 7, 2016