On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

June 29th, 2010 by Editor

EOHR  launches its campaign to combat impunity

 At the end of a seminar held by EOHR on Monday 28/6/2010, EOHR launched its campaign to combat the torture crime under the title of ” Combating impunity” which will last for 18 months, calling upon all political and social forces and human rights activists to join the campaign.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, chairman of EOHR, confirmed that the launching of the campaign comes within  the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 18 months period was selected carefully for the campaign, this is to end the campaign before the presidential elections in 2011, adding that the scope of the campaign will include Cairo and a number of governorates in northern and southern Egypt, pointing out that the first activities of this campaign is this seminar to release  a bill  for amending some articles of the Penal Code (articles 126 – 129-280) and the Criminal Procedure Code (63-232), which will be submitted to the President and the Parliament, adding that this bill has already submitted by EOHR to the Parliament in 2003.

Abu Seada added that, the crime of torture is walking in a methodology  footsteps and became a phenomenon repeated every day in Egypt in order to obtain confessions from suspects or anyone committed a crime.

Abu Seada stressed on the importance of activating the provisions of law  concerned with yielding places for detention for the judiciary supervision, pointing out that several articles of the Penal Code are subjects of controversy from the human rights organizations as they represent a fertile environment for the rise and proliferation of crimes of torture in Egypt, and to facilitate the impunity of perpetrators.

He explained that the bill presented by EOHR has stressed the severe punishment against the perpetrators of crimes of torture, and the inadmissibility of the use of clemency and extenuating circumstances of sentence, and the realization of the right of victims to file a criminal lawsuit against the direct perpetrators of the crime of torture.

Abu Seada called the President and the People’s Assembly and Shura Council for  adopting  the bill  prepared by EOHR Against Torture called the government for responding  promptly to the recommendations of the International Council for Human Rights in Geneva regarding torture, which is to amend articles 126, 129 of the Penal Code to be conformed with  the International Convention Against Torture and the Optional Protocol against Torture, and invite the Special Rapporteur against Torture to visit Egypt.

Mr. Ahmed Shaaban, writer and political thinker, stressing that the response to the crime of torture is one of the important issues that must be addressed, especially since this issue affects not just those who exercise political action, but used against the ordinary citizen,  Torture has become a threat to every Egyptian citizen walking on the ground.

Shaaban called for an immediate start to launch a popular and wide campaign  to combat the crime of torture because of this crime makes ordinary citizens away from the public action, which is incompatible with the Constitution, which preserves human dignity, stressing on the importance of the campaign which will involve all categories  of people.

For his part, Abdul Ghaffar shokr, vice president of the Centre for Arab and African Research and a leader of Al Tagamou pary, informed that  the state of emergency prevented places of detention to be monitored  making these places cause to increase the torture in Egypt, as well as the administrative detention of persons who are released.

He added that  the state of emergency which has been imposed  in Egypt for 30 years formed a fertile environment for widespread of torture, as well as the impunity of perpetrators.

He called EOHR for immediate start to its campaign against torture, at the same time confronting  the culture of torture that have spread in recent times.

As for Dr. Ahmed Abu Baraka, member of the parliament, called for a legislation to face the crime of torture in all its forms to keep the dignity of human and the sanctity of his life through the special law to preserve the rights and freedoms, adding that a person who practices torture makes the victim indignant against  citizens and society as a whole, stressing that the main reason behind the loss of Egyptian citizen’s dignity and sense of non-protection;  is the lack of accurate  legislation,  asking the legislator  to adopt a precise definition for  the crime of torture and the deserved  punishment for  the perpetrators.

Abu Baraka stressed that the crime of torture is a  systematic in Egypt, not individually, criticizing the absence of the  law of the section of Egyptian prisons, which are currently regulated by a decision by the late President Anwar Sadat.

Abu Baraka confirmed that Article 126 of the Penal Code is  weak in its definition for  torture,  as it confined the  definition of torture to obtain confessions  of the citizen,  so this phenomenon should be settled through a legislation that protect human rights and doesn’t facilitate the crime of torture, he condemned the phenomenon of repeated detention which became a normal phenomenon committed against the right of Egyptians.

At the conclusion of the seminar, the participants recommended the following:

  • – Transfer the subordination of the Prison Sector to the Ministry of Justice.
  • – Preparing training courses for the police officer and the prison sector about the promotion and respect for human rights.
  • – To start a public campaign to address the phenomenon of torture through the media and the independent press and satellite channels and to invite political parties, trade unions and human rights organizations to join the campaign.
  • – Parliament shall adopt EOHR’s bill to amend the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code with regard to crimes of torture [1].
  • The Egyptian government has to ratify on 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.

EOHR’s  campaign against impunity

The bill of amending some articles of the Penal Code and Criminal Procedures Code on torture crime

Memorandum on impunity and torture crime

on the amendment of some articles of the Penal Code and Criminal Procedures Code concerning torture crime, using cruelty, detaining citizens and arrest them illegally.

On October 1981, the Egyptian government  ratified on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and published it in the official newspaper on 5/4/1982, also Egypt ratified on the International Covenant against all forms of torture and ill-treatment on 25 January 1986.

Whereas, the International Community paid attention for the torture crime and this appears clearly by considering torture crime as a crime against humanity in the Convention Rome which concerns with the establishment of the International Court of Justice in 1998.

Whereas, Egypt is one of the countries that established the UN Human Rights Council, Egypt is one of the countries that participated in setting a draft of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights so Egypt has a special duty on making its legal system conforms with its legal obligation according to the conventions that Egypt ratified.

It is well known that the existing legislations and the adopted procedures about protection of people from torture is characterized with defect, and fail in providing protection to victims of torture and all ways of ill-treatment as follow :

  1] Article 126 of the penal code doesn’t provide a definition of torture that conforms with the international definition stated in the UN Convention Against Torture, which is consider delayed  behind the fundamental principal in the international criminal legislation, which is providing the maximum criminal protection for the right of the individual for physical and mental safety, it faces only torture cases on the suspect  to force him to confess, but if torture committed by public official according to article 126 on innocents or on a suspect without intention to make him confess, this doesn’t consider a torture according to article 126 in the definition of torture.

2] As for the crime of using cruelty described in article 129 in penal code, the sanction stated in the article is insufficient, this crime applies only on one situation, if this situation takes form of assault or light abuse which doesn’t reach hitting or injuring but in the situation which takes the form of the minimum extent of hitting or injuries, which doesn’t result in disability, disease or disability of doing personal acts for period doesn’t exceed 20 days, this crime is sentenced to imprisonment for period doesn’t exceed a year or a fine doesn’t exceed 200 EGP as if the criminal act occurs by an individual on another not by the representative of the authority on individual.

3] The torture crime by physical harm stated in article 282 of penal code which rises the sanction to category of felons, if the arrest happened illegally, associated with threat of murder or physical torture, this article doesn’t differentiate between the occurrence of this act by individual  on another and the authority on individual, the sanction should be emphasized in the last situation because the representative of the authority commits this crime depending on their position’s power and its capacity.

The proposal bill aims at the treatment of the insufficiency of the penal code and the procedures code concern with torture  and the ill-treatment, detention and illegally arrest citizens, in order to conform the Egyptian law with the UN Convention Against Torture , the amendments are as follow:

1] Article 126 has been amended by adding definition for torture crime in accordance with the provision of the convention  by adding a second paragraph which includes all forms of torture, canceling the special paragraph which concerns with forcing the accused to confess, adding the purposes  for obtaining information or punishing every act has been committed or suspected of committing this act or frightening him or frightening other people or forcing these people to surrender or any other purposes, also punishing those who associate in  facilitating or agreeing on committing the crime, the sanction has been emphasized as minimum 5 years with labor and premeditated murder sanction if the victim died, also adding the possibility of using mercy or extenuating circumstances in this crime.

 

2] The sanction of article 129 concerns with using cruelty has been amended by emphasizing the sanction with not less than one year. 

 

3] The sanction of article 280 concerns with arrest  people without permission of competent authority ,the sanction has been emphasized from arrest  to imprisonment.

4] Article 63 of the criminal procedures and article 232 procedures have been amended in order to permit the victim or his family to file a direct case in the torture cases or using cruelty or provisional detention without legal proof, before the amendment of this article,  the public prosecution was the only competent authority which could carry out this procedure.

The articles supposed to be amended in the penal code and criminal procedures

 

The text of law

The proposal amendment

Article 126 of the penal code

The amendment of article 126 of penal code

Every official or public official ordered torturing accused person to force him to confession , shall be sentenced to live imprisonment or imprisonment from 3 to 10 years and if the victim died , he will be sentenced to  premeditated  murder.

Every official or public official tortured a person or ordered, incite, or agreed, or keep silent, shall be sentenced to intense imprisonment period not less than 5 years , and the same sanction for every one associated in committing this crime.

Article 129 of the penal code

 

Every official or public official and every person charged with public service subjected persons to cruelty including physical harm or offences to their dignity depending on  their jobs , shall be sentenced to an arrest period of no longer than 1 year or a fine not to exceed 200 EGP.

The amendment of article 129 of the penal code

 

Every official or public official and every person charged with public service subjected persons to cruelty including physical harm or offences to their dignity, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for period not less than a year.  

Article 280 of the penal code

 

Every one has been arrested or imprisoned or detained  without order of one of the competent official and in circumstances which were not stated in the law and regulations concerns arresting the suspected person ,shall be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine doesn’t exceed 200 EGP. 

Amendment of article 280 of the penal code

 

Every person arrested, imprisoned or detained someone without order from one of the competent official, and in circumstances that is not stated in the law and regulations concerns stopping and arresting, shall be sentenced to imprisonment.

Article 63 of the criminal procedures

 

If the public prosecution decided in articles of contravention and misdemeanors that the case is suitable for filing a case according to the evidence   which was collected which summoned the accused to attend before the competent court.

 

The public prosecution in the contravention and misdemeanor articles has the right to appoint a judge to investigate according to article 64 of this law or the public prosecution carry out the investigation according to article 199 and what after it of this law.

 

Except these mentioned crimes of the penal code in article 123, the public prosecution, attorney general

 or head of public prosecution only can file a criminal case against public official or one of the police officers of the company for a felon or misdemeanor occurred during doing his job or because of it.   

 

Amending the first and the third paragraph

 

If the public prosecution decided  in articles of misdemeanor, contravention and felon , that the case is suitable for filing a case according to the evidence   which was collected which summoned the accused to attend before the competent court.

 

Except for the crimes mentioned in articles 123, 126, 129, 280 of the penal code, the public prosecution, attorney general or the head of the public prosecution only can file a case against public official or of the police officers for a felon or misdemeanor occurred by him  during doing his job or because of it. 

Article 232, the second paragraph of the criminal procedures

 

The case referred to misdemeanor court according to a permission issued by the investigation judge or the appeal- misdemeanor court held in the discussion room or the public prosecution  or  civil  right prosecutor summon him to appear.

 

It may dispense with summoning the accused to appear if he the public prosecution or the court accused him of the accusation.

 

But civil right prosecutor can file a case to charge litigant to stand before the court in two case:

First: ……………………

Second: if the case was filed against the official or public user or one of the judicial officers of a crime occurred during doing his job or because of it if

the crime was not mentioned in article 123 of the penal code.   

The proposal amendment of article 232, the second paragraph in the criminal procedure

 

The case referred to the misdemeanor court according to an order issued by the investigation judge or the  appeal- misdemeanor court held in the discussion room or according to summon of the public prosecution or civil  right prosecutors.

 

It may dispense with summoning the accused to appear if he the public prosecution or the court accused him of the accusation.

 

But civil right prosecutor can file a case to charge litigant to stand before the court in two case:

First: ……………………

Second: if the case filed against the official or public user or one of the judicial officer occurred during the doing of his job or because of it if the crimes was not mentioned in articles 123, 126, 129 and 280 of the penal code.

 

 

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