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Criminal justice | ECESR Submits Communiqué to Prosecutor-General on Involuntary Disappearance of Egyptian Citizens

As an agent for 8 citizens residing in the village of Aghor, Qaliobia governorate, ECESR submitted a communiqué to the Prosecutor-General against the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, and both the Interior and Defense Ministers, in their capacities as responsible for the safety of Egyptian citizens. It demanded investigations to be initiated about the cause and the whereabouts of their siblings, and whether they were kept in a detention place, and to notify ECESR if they were being held in custody so as to be able to perform its role as a legal defense for the disappeared.

The story began on September 6, 2014 when the complainants’ sons boarded a boat traveling to Italy and since that date they received no information about their whereabouts. After many attempts to figure out their fate and whereabouts, ECESR received some information about being arrested and held by one of the security apparatuses. But ECESR lawyers could not specifically determine where or why they were detained, which made their parents tremble with fear that their children may be exposed to life-threatening harm.

To figure out their fate and whereabouts, and whether the were arrested and held by one of the security apparatuses and the kind of charges leveled against them, ECESR lawyers resorted to the Prosecutor- General to open an investigation into the matter as a case of forced disappearance, which is considered by the Egyptian Constitution as a flagrant violation of numerous human rights. The Constitution contains many articles that ensure the protection of personal and public rights of individuals, not to mention the legislation organizing preventive custody—its duration, causes, and due compensation. In all cases, a defendant may not be brought to trial in which he may be sentenced to jail without the presence of his attorney. The police services have to protect citizens in general and detainees, in particular. The failure to protect them is considered a clear violation of human rights and a crime against humanity as adopted by the international covenants and conventions.

The illegal immigration phenomenon is rampant mainly among young people, who are suffering from unemployment and the lack of state jobs that ensure a dignified life in their country. The right to work and to lead a dignified life is one of the economic and social rights defended by ECESR. It is an inalienable right to all citizens and an obligation the state and its institutions have to fulfill. It is not a secret that most of illegal immigration fails and the migrants end up either arrested or drowned because of the large numbers piled in vessels unfit to travel long distances by sea, in addition to leaving the migrants at sea to complete their journey on their own, lest the Coast Guard arrest them, if survived.