(July 14, 2016 | Washington, D.C.) Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has submitted an urgent action and petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and an urgent action to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture on behalf of prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Malek Mostafa Adly Elgendy who has been severely mistreated and held in prolonged solitary confinement for 69 days, placing his life at imminent risk.
“Malek has dedicated his life and worked tirelessly to defend the dignity and rights of all Egyptians, and now the government has placed his life in serious danger,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “The brutal torture and prolonged solitary confinement of a prominent human rights defender like Mr. Adly demonstrates the lengths to which the Egyptian authorities are willing to go to silence all forms of peaceful dissent.”
Mr. Adly is a member of the Front for the Defense of Egyptian Protesters (FDEP) and head of the legal unit for the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). As a prominent human rights lawyer, he has represented countless peaceful protesters and civil society organizations, and litigated a number of critical rights cases in Egypt. Mr. Adly was arrested on May 5, 2016 on the pretense that his activism on the Tiran and Sanafir island transfer deal represented an existential threat to the Egyptian state. He was beaten by authorities, and ever since, has been held in prolonged solitary confinement, denied proper medical treatment, and prevented from fully challenging his detention before an impartial court of law, all resulting in a severe deterioration in his physical and mental health.
“Everything about Mr. Adly’s case – from his arbitrary arrest on trumped up charges, to his cruel treatment and detention conditions, to the flagrant disregard for due process – is a shameful hallmark of an authoritarian regime obsessed with maintaining power at the expense of its own citizens,” said Wade McMullen, Managing Attorney at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “The torture of a prominent human rights defender represents a significant escalation in the Egyptian government’s systematic crackdown on civic space throughout the country.”
The arbitrary arrest, unlawful pretrial detention, torture, and solitary confinement conditions of Mr. Adly violate numerous rights protected by the Egyptian Constitution and Egypt’s international human rights obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.
Mr. Adly’s detention occurs amidst extensive government measures to severely crackdown on all forms of critique to the Egyptian government’s island transfer, including the arrest and sentencing of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators and the raiding of the Press Syndicate by police for the first time in the country’s modern history. Additionally, Egypt continues to witness a severely-escalating crackdown against the country’s civil society through asset freezes, attempted organization closures, and the reopening of the 2012-2013 “foreign funding” trial. Egypt also continues to improperly use pretrial detention as a punitive measure to silence independent voices, among them Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights clients Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Hussein—who spent over 2 years in pretrial detention without charge for wearing an anti-torture t-shirt—and Aya Hijazi and Mohamed Hassanein—who remain behind bars today for establishing a non-governmental organization that provides rehabilitation for street children.
Additional background on the case of Malek Mostafa Adly Elgendy:
On April 23, 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Adly on the pretense of his activism on the issue of the Egyptian government’s decision to transfer the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the government of Saudi Arabia. On May 5, Mr. Adly was arrested by plainclothes police officers in implementation of this arrest warrant. Prior to a four-hour interrogation which occurred in the middle of the night, Mr. Adly was severely beaten by security personnel, stripped of his shirt, insulted, blind-folded, and pushed around while a gun was being pointed to his chest.
Early in the morning on May 6, Mr. Adly was transferred to Tora Prison, where he has been held in prolonged solitary confinement in a 2x3 meter cell ever since. Mr. Adly is forced to sleep on the ground with no mattress, is barred from any recreation or exercising time, and is denied access to the prison mosque, books, newspapers, and the radio. During his detention, Mr. Adly has been drugged by prison officials, who on at least one occasion pinned him down and injected him with an unknown substance. He is denied access to his proper blood pressure medication, contributing to his severely deteriorating health and regular emergency hospital visits. Citing his egregious prison conditions, Mr. Adly has expressed a serious fear of suicidal thoughts.
In complete disregard for Mr. Adly’s due process rights, the Egyptian courts have repeatedly reauthorized his pretrial detention in pro forma proceedings, without allowing him or his lawyers to present their arguments or motions for bail and conditional release. When the government sporadically allows visits by Mr. Adly’s family and lawyers, these visits are heavily monitored. His counsel has not been granted access to any documentation in the case, including a formal charge sheet. Mr. Adly faces five baseless charges as per the Egyptian Penal Code, including but not limited to “attempting to forcibly overthrow or change the state Constitution or its republican system or the form of government.” Mr. Adly’s next detention renewal hearing is scheduled for July 18.
Managing Attorney, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Tel: 202-463-7575, ext. 221
UNWGAD Petition - Malek Adly (357.5 KB) Urgent Action (Torture) - Malek Adly (189.4 KB)