Egyptian human rights defender Ebrahim Metwally detained since September 2017

Egyptian human rights defender Ebrahim Metwally detained since September 2017

On September 10, 2017, human rights defender Ebrahim Metwally was on his way to Geneva to attend a meeting with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances when he was arrested at Cairo International Airport. He is currently being held incommunicado and in solitary confinement in Tora prison. He has not yet been brought to trial.
Latest Updates
May 1, 2019: MENA Rights Group raises case with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights ahead of the preparation of the Secretary-General’s 2019 report on reprisals.
February 2019: Tora prison’s administration begins preventing Metwally from receiving family visits.
September 15, 2017: United Nations human rights experts express their grave concern about Metwally arrest and request his immediate release.
September 12, 2017: Reappears before State Security Court, which extends his detention for 15 days.
September 10, 2017: Arrested at Cairo International Airport, disappeared.

Ebrahim Metwally is the co-founder and coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, which provides the relatives of victims of enforced disappearance in Egypt with legal counselling, including through the submission of cases to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). Metwally is the father of Amr Ibrahim Abdel Metwally Hegazy, who remains missing since his arrest on August 7, 2013, and whose case was submitted by his father to the WGEID.

On September 10, 2017, Metwally was on his way to Geneva to attend a meeting with the WGEID when he was arrested by members of the Egyptian security forces and airport police at Cairo International Airport, and taken to an unknown place of detention.

He reappeared on September 12, 2017 before the State Security Court, which extended his detention for 15 days pending investigation by the Egyptian State Prosecution on charges of “establishing an illegal organisation”, “conspiracy with foreign entities to harm the security of the state” and “spreading false information”. A letter from the WGEID inviting Metwally for a meeting in Geneva was used by the prosecutor as inculpatory evidence. He was detained in Al Aqrab maximum security section of Tora prison.

On September 15, 2017, two UN human rights experts expressed grave concern about Metwally’s arrest, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights highlighted the case while presenting the annual report on reprisals to the Human Rights Council in Geneva later the same month.

Metwally is currently being held incommunicado and in solitary confinement in Tora prison. His conditions of detention are extremely poor, and he has been subjected to systematic physical and psychological abuse amounting to torture and ill-treatment. Since February 2019, the prison administration has not allowed his family to visit him, despite permission being granted by the prosecution to allow such visits. During this period, the abuses against Metwally have intensified.

Despite suffering from acute prostatitis and serious vision problems – a result of the lack of lighting in the solitary confinement cell – he has not been allowed to be examined by medical specialists.

Metwally has not yet been brought to trial, as his case is still being investigated before the Supreme State Security Court. In the last two court proceedings, Metwally’s lawyers were notified with adjournment dates that differed from the days in which Metwally was physically present in the courtroom, affecting his right to prepare his defence and preventing his lawyers from enquiring about the treatment he is receiving in detention. The proceedings have been adjourned to an unspecified date.