7 Egyptians missing in Libya since 2014: Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms

Hana Afifi , Tuesday 17 Feb 2015

No information is known by the commission in regards to the missing Egyptians in Libya including, their location or identity of their kidnappers.

Seven Egyptians are still kidnapped or missing since August and September 2014 in Libya, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms wrote in a letter to the Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi Monday.

"We have some information and facts that there are a number of Egyptians who are still kidnapped in Libya, and this through communication with their families," the commission said in the letter in which they detailed the incidents.

The commission notified officials at the foreign ministry about the incidents since they occurred, Mina Thabet, a researcher at the commission for religious freedoms and minorities affairs, told Ahram Online.

"The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms is making assurances that it is ready to offer any new information we have," they said in the letter.

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms is a human rights group based in Giza which documents human rights violations and follows the conditions of Egyptian workers in Libya, especially the treatment received by Christian Egyptians.

The commission also called upon the president to take the necessary measures to find accurate information about where they are or if they are alive.

Four Egyptians were kidnapped on the borders of Libyan coastal city Sirte on their way back to Egypt from Tripoli to the Salloum crossing on 24 August 2014: Gamal, Raafat and Roumany Matta Hakim, and Adel Sedky Hakim.

The armed groups questioned them, as well as a Muslim who was with them, about their religious identity. The latter was allowed to continue back to Egypt, according to his testimony to the commission.

Two days later, another Christian Egyptian, Mina Shehata, was kidnapped under similar circumstances.

On 15 September 2014, two Egyptians disappeared: Shenouda Samy Adly Ateya and Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Gawad El-Beheiry in the northwestern Libyan city Misrata after leaving work at 4 p.m. Their car was not found and there is no information on them.

Thabet told Ahram Online that it seems that a group other than the Islamic State (IS) kidnapped them, since IS has not claimed responsibility for their disappearance.

On Sunday, the militant Islamic State group published a video purportedly showing its execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya. Egypt responded with airstrikes in Libya early on Monday, sparking fears of reprisals against Egyptian expatriates in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are believed to still be present in Libya. The International Organisation for Migration estimates that 330,000 to 1.5 million Egyptians worked in Libya until Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, sending millions of dollars back to Egypt in remittances.

Hours after Egypt's airstrikes on the Islamic State group's positions in the country, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi convened a meeting to draw up an evacuation plan for Egyptians in Libya.

The commission also expressed their deep sorrow regarding the killing of the 21 kidnapped Egyptians and offered their condolences to the president, the Egyptian people and the victim's families.

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