Egyptian trade unionist and human rights defender Ahmed Amasha arrested in March 2017, subjected to enforced disappearance and torture

Egyptian trade unionist and human rights defender Ahmed Amasha arrested in March 2017, subjected to enforced disappearance and torture

Dr. Ahmed Amasha was arrested by police officers on March 10, 2017, and disappeared. He reappeared on April 1, 2017, and was subsequently charged with “belonging to a banned group” and transferred to Tora Prison in Cairo. During his enforced disappearance, he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment by state security officers to force him to sign a pre-written confession. Amasha continues to be held in pre-trial detention in Tora prison, and is denied the medical care that he urgently needs.
Latest Updates
September 9, 2019: Mentioned in the Secretary-General’s 2019 report on reprisals.
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.
November 22, 2017: the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concludes in Opinion 78/2017 that Amasha’s detention is arbitrary and requests his immediate release.
May 3, 2017: Several UN Special Procedures mandate holders send urgent appeal to the Egyptian authorities regarding Amasha’s case.
April 13, 2017: Amasha brought before the Public Prosecutor, charged with “belonging to a banned group” and subsequently transferred to Tora Prison in Cairo.
April 1, 2017: Reappears before Public Prosecutor of Tagamo’ El Khames in Cairo.
March 10, 2017: Arrested by police officers at Nasr City checkpoint and disappeared.

Dr. Ahmed Amasha is a veterinarian, human rights defender, trade unionist and member of the “Kefaya” opposition movement. He co-founded the League for Families of the Disappeared, which provides relatives of victims of enforced disappearance in Egypt with legal advice and helps them file complaints at both the domestic and international level.

On March 10, 2017, Amasha was arrested by police officers at Nasr City police checkpoint and taken to an unknown location. He reappeared on April 1, 2017, before the Public Prosecutor of Tagamo’ El Khames in Cairo, where he was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. On April 13, Amasha was again brought before the prosecutor, this time in the presence of his lawyer, and charged with “belonging to a banned group”. He was then transferred to Tora Prison in Cairo.

Amasha reported that, during his enforced disappearance, he was held at the central police station of Abbasiya, in the Cairo governorate. There, he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment for several days by state security officers to force him to sign a pre-written confession that declared that he was a member of a “banned group”. The officers blindfolded and handcuffed him, electrocuted him on different parts of his body, raped him with a stick, and threatened to rape his wife and daughters.

On May 3, 2017, several UN Special Procedures mandate holders sent an appeal to the Egyptian authorities addressing allegations of Amasha’s abduction, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. The Special Procedures expressed concerns about his “physical and psychological integrity” and about the fact that the violations “seem to constitute acts of reprisals against Dr. Amasha for documenting cases of enforced disappearances for the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations”. Furthermore, in Opinion No. 78/2017, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that Amasha’s detention is arbitrary and requested his immediate release.

Amasha continues to be held in pre-trial detention in Tora prison. His family and lawyer have not been allowed to visit him in prison to date. His lawyers are able to see him only when he is presented to the prosecutor for the renewal of his pre-trial detention, during which time he is held in a glass cage. In these instances, his lawyers are allowed to speak with him for brief periods of time and only in the presence of the prosecutor. Despite receiving unofficial information that Amasha was charged with “joining a banned group”, his lawyers have never been officially notified by the authorities of the charges against him.

Amasha suffers from cartilage and retinal detachment, stomach ulcers, sciatic nerve inflammation, prostatitis, chronic inflammation of the lumbar spine, and from skin and kidney issues. The prison authorities have failed to provide him with adequate medical care by not allowing him the medicine and medical examinations he urgently needs. Furthermore, his conditions of detention are poor, as he is held in a small, overcrowded cell that does not meet basic standards of hygiene, and he is frequently subjected to ill-treatment, especially during the daily searches of his prison cell.