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Back Activities Alert Archive URGENT ALERT: GERMANY / EGYPT: Fear of Deportation & Torture

URGENT ALERT: GERMANY / EGYPT: Fear of Deportation & Torture

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'Abd al-Akher Hammad, aged 44 and Muhi al-Din Ahmad 'Abd al-Mun'im, aged 40 are alleged leading members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya...Their asylum applications were examined and rejected, and their appeals were turned down by an administrative court (Verwalt Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Tel: (+44) 20 8902 0888
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e-mail: ihrc@dial.pipex.com
web: www.ihrc.org

URGENT ALERT: GERMANY / EGYPT: Fear of Deportation & Torture

13th March 2000
GERMANY / EGYPT: Fear of Deportation & Torture
Source: Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), Amnesty International, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Lawyers' Committee (Egypt), Information Centre (London.)

'Abd al-Akher Hammad, aged 44 and Muhi al-Din Ahmad 'Abd al-Mun'im, aged 40 are alleged leading members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya.

The men and their families applied for asylum when they arrived at Frankfurt am Main airport on 26 January 2000, reportedly after several years living outside Egypt. Muhi al-Din Ahmad 'Abd al-Mun'im had his wife and son with him, and 'Abd al-Akher Hammad his wife and five children.

Their asylum applications were examined and rejected, and their appeals were turned down by an administrative court (Verwaltungsgericht) in Frankfurt am Main on 15 and 16 February 2000 respectively, all under an accelerated special "airport procedure" (Flughafenverfahren).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In Egypt suspected members of armed Islamist opposition groups are frequently tortured, particularly at the State Security Intelligence (SSI) headquarters in Lazoghly Square, Cairo, but also other SSI branches, at police stations and occasionally prisons. The methods most commonly reported are electric shocks, beatings, suspension by the wrists or ankles, burning with cigarettes, and various forms of psychological torture, including death threats and threats of rape or sexual abuse of the detainee or their female relatives. Despite hundreds of complaints of torture reported by lawyers and local human rights groups to the Public Prosecutor's Office, no impartial investigations are known to have been conducted.

Such 'suspects' have included teenage boys and girls, teachers both from secular establishments and religious schools, and lawyers who have defended alleged 'suspects.'

Trials of alleged members of armed Islamist groups before military or (Emergency) Supreme State Security courts are grossly unfair. In April 1999 the Supreme Military Court issued its verdict in a trial of 107 people, 60 in absentia, accused of membership of the Islamist armed group al-Gihad (Holy Struggle). Nine were sentenced to death in absentia; 78 received prison sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment; and 20 were acquitted. The defendants included more than a dozen people forcibly returned to Egypt from various countries, including Albania, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Returned defendants were interrogated over several months while held in unacknowledged incommunicado detention by the SSI, and defence lawyers were not allowed to meet the defendants until they appeared in court in February. Several defendants alleged that they had been tortured, but no independent investigation was apparently carried out.

The German authorities may forcibly return the two Egyptian asylum-seekers named above, and their families. If returned to Egypt, they, and possibly members of their families, would be at grave risk of torture, unfair trial and other serious human rights violations.

The men and their families applied for asylum when they arrived at Frankfurt am Main airport on 26 January 2000, reportedly after several years living outside Egypt. Muhi al-Din Ahmad 'Abd al-Mun'im had his wife and son with him, and 'Abd al-Akher Hammad his wife and five children.
Their asylum applications were examined and rejected, and their appeals were turned down by an administrative court (Verwaltungsgericht) in Frankfurt am Main on 15 and 16 February 2000 respectively, all under an accelerated special "airport procedure" (Flughafenverfahren).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In Egypt suspected members of armed Islamist opposition groups are frequently tortured, particularly at the State Security Intelligence (SSI) headquarters in Lazoghly Square, Cairo, but also other SSI branches, at police stations and occasionally prisons. The methods most commonly reported are electric shocks, beatings, suspension by the wrists or ankles, burning with cigarettes, and various forms of psychological torture, including death threats and threats of rape or sexual abuse of the detainee or their female relatives. Despite hundreds of complaints of torture reported by lawyers and local human rights groups to the Public Prosecutor's Office, no impartial investigations are known to have been conducted.

After considering the State Party Report in May 1999, the UN Committee Against Torture recommended "that Egypt takes effective measures to prevent torture in police and SSI custody...[and] that a proper registry of detainees, both police and SSI, which is accessible to members of the public be established and maintained."

Trials of alleged members of armed Islamist groups before military or (Emergency) Supreme State Security courts are grossly unfair. In April 1999 the Supreme Military Court issued its verdict in a trial of 107 people, 60 in absentia, accused of membership of the Islamist armed group al-Gihad (Holy Struggle). Nine were sentenced to death in absentia; 78 received prison sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment; and 20 were acquitted. The defendants included more than a dozen people forcibly returned to Egypt from various countries, including Albania, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Returned defendants were interrogated over several months while held in unacknowledged incommunicado detention by the SSI, and defence lawyers were not allowed to meet the defendants until they appeared in court in February. Several defendants alleged that they had been tortured, but no independent investigation was apparently carried out.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to stop the deportation process of both men and their families. All face the prospect of horrendous torture and violations of their rights if sent back to Egypt.

APPEALS TO:

Minister of the Interior Otto Schily
Ministry of the Interior
Alt-Moabit 101
D 11014 Berlin
Germany
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Berlin, Germany
Faxes: + 49 30 39812926 or + 49 30 39811014
E-mails: posteingang@bmi.bund400.de
Salutation: Sehr geehrter Herr Innenminister / Dear Minister

Federal Border Police
Bundesgrenzschutz Frankfurt am Main
Fax: + 49 69 693075

COPIES TO:

Foreign Minister Herrn Joschka Fischer
Außenminister
Adenauerallee 99-103
D-53001 Bonn
Germany
Faxes: + 49 228 173402
E-mails: poststelle@auswaertiges-amt.de

and to diplomatic representatives of Germany accredited to your country. [END]

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