EOHR’s campaign to combat the phenomenon of impunity

June 14th, 2010 by Editor

Egypt suffers from the spreading of torture phenomenon on a large-scale in the last period until it became a daily usual event which happens every day in spite of the hideousness and the gravity of this phenomenon as it violates the international covenants concerned  with human rights and different legislations.

The case of murdering  ” Khaled Said Qasem” on 6/6/2010 in Cleopatra area in Alexandria governorate before witnesses is a strange issue, this incident coincided with  the Egyptian government refusal  to ratify on article 21 of the optional protocol which allows  people to submit complaints to the committee against torture.

Torture is practiced not only inside police stations and prisons, but also in the streets in front of citizens, this situation prompt us to confront this phenomenon in all forms, this phenomenon resulted from using emergency law which allows policemen to have the right to stop the suspects, it  hasn’t  been allowed except under this law.

This victim belongs to a rich  family which lives in United States Of America , he owns an exporting and importing company, he is a young man and well known with his well reputation among his family and friends.

EOHR send a fact finding mission to find out the truth, the reasons and the special circumstances related to the incident , specially that the security service insisted that they were suspecting the victim and they are arguing that suspecting people is legally justified according to the emergency law but this contradicts with what really happened, if the victim was really suspected, how they  entered  the internet cafe and searching the place  forcibly. EOHR has met the victim’s brother Ahmed Said Qasem and some people who witnessed the incident.

EOHR has insured that a group of Sidi Gaber’s security personnel have broken into the internet café located in the building No.37 in the same building where  Khaled Said Qasem lived at, in Methat Seif street, Cleopatra  area, Alexandria governorate.

The security personnel asked the people in the internet café to show their IDs and they tried to search  the victim without public prosecution’s permission and they  assaulted the victim premeditated and surveillance.

The witnesses ensured that the defectives of Sidi Gaber have assaulted the victim by hitting him with their hands and legs harshly, they also hit his head in the internet café’s marble wall, then he fall down the floor and they dragged him to the next building then they hit his head again in an iron gate  which led to a partial removal of the gate, then they hit his head to the stairs and wall of the building , there was two doctors who witnessed the incident, they tried to revive his heart and measure his pulse of no avail, however  the detectives continued hitting him to make sure that he died , some witnesses ensured that the victim was screaming and saying that he is dieing then one of the detectives told him that they will not leave him until his death, then they took them, and after 15 minutes they came back again and threw him in the street, then  a group of detectives came with three police officers and called the ambulance personnel who refused to take the victim so the police officer insulted  them and ordered to take the victim to the hospital.

One of the witnesses said that “after transferring the corpse by the ambulance, a police officer came to the area and brought with him a police corporal  to preview the  incident, the police officer spoke to one of the neighbors who was sitting beside him in the internet café and he is known by his “drugs trafficking” and he works as a guide for the police, the police officer told him that if he cooperate with them he will drop the charges against him”.

The owner of the internet café “Hessien Mohammed” said that he witnessed the incident as he said that after the victim entered the internet café with few seconds the detectives entered after him and restrained his hands from the back and one of them hit his head to the marble wall of the internet café, then the owner pushed them out the internet café, and one of the children who witnessed the incident said that he saw the detectives hitting the victim’s head to iron gate and the stairs of the building next to the internet café and the doorman’s wife where the victim lives said that he loves computer, music and loves his neighbors and have no problem with any one.   

We find that what happened to “Khaled” is a violation to the  basic human rights namely the right to life, that  right which guaranteed by international covenants on human rights, including article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved  by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 “Everyone has the right to life liberty and security of person. As well as Article 5 ” No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment..” As well as Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, approved  by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16 December 1966 ” No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Also Article 41 of the Egyptian constitution which stated that

“Individual freedom is a natural right and shall not be touched.

Except in cases of a flagrant delicate no person may be arrested, inspected, detained or his

freedom restricted or prevented from free movement except by an or necessitated by

investigations and preservation of the security of the society.

This order shall be given by the competent judge or the Public Prosecution in accordance with

the provisions of the law.

The law shall determine the period of custody”.

His family has submitted a report to the public prosecution to investigate into the incident registered under No.  7438 – 2010 administrative Sidi Gaber on  6/7/2010 Prosecutors ordered  to autopsy his body, however there is  no forensic report till now.

Therefore, EOHR  calls the  Attorney General for  investigating into  the incident  also  at the same time it calls the Egyptian government for the need to stand in the face of actions taken by the security services, which led to the spread of the phenomenon of torture on a large scale until now this phenomenon is done in a systematic way with the citizens.

Gong a head from  the role played by the Egyptian Organization for human rights  to combat  torture, it takes the responsibility to combat this phenomenon from its establishment. It focused on studying all torture cases raised, as it prepared a bill to combat this phenomenon.  

EOHR came to the fact that the spread of torture phenomenon goes to the legislative defect concerned with torture crime stated in article 126 of the penal code. It calls for a set of recommendations to combat torture and the phenomenon of impunity as follows:

– The need to reconsider the punitive legislations for crimes of torture and the abolition of various legislations which contributed in providing fruitful environment to spread the phenomenon of torture such as the Emergency Law No. 162 of 1985 and the Penal Code No. 58 of 1938, the Police law No. 109 of 1971 which opened the door to the use of force without a sharp controls.

– Amending  Article 126 of the Penal Code to be compatible  with the Convention against Torture, ratified by Egypt, which defines torture as any pain or physical or mental suffering as it doesn’t provide that torture is targeted  to extract a confession only as provided under Egyptian law.

-The Egyptian government has to ratify the two declarations referred in articles 21-22 of the Convention against Torture, according to these declarations the committee against torture in united nations can make a decision on the submitted complaints from such individuals concerning Egypt’s commitment stipulated in the convention.

– Abolishing  Law  No. 121 of 1956 on the encroachment of Article 63 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which restricts
the right to bring lawsuit against public officials including police officers

-Issuing a new legislation that confirm what so called “conclusion civiles (the right of civil applicant) ” to litigate directly before criminal court in the crimes of assaulting personal freedom or privacy of citizens.

-The immediate investigation by public prosecution in the submitted reports from individuals and institutions concerning such assaults which detainees face inside prisons , besides the continued search by public prosecution on police stations and places of detention and control instruments used in torture.

-Setting controllers and  specific rules to monitor the performance of police officers and private detectives in investigation departments.

-The recognition of organizations working in the field of human rights and cooperate with them and investigating all reports submitted by them.

-To take immediate criminal measures  against those who accused of crimes of torture and illegal detention and brought them to trial immediately.

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