NCHR says 121 Egyptians thought to be victims of 'forced disappearance' located

Menna Alaa El-Din , Monday 18 Jan 2016

The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said on Monday the interior ministry informed it of the whereabouts of a number of Egyptians who had been missing in recent months, following widespread public complaints of forced disappearances.

The semi-governmental council said in a statement that it has learned from a ministry report the whereabouts of 118 out of 191 people who were mentioned of a complaint recently filed with the ministry regarding forced disappearances.

"Fifteen citizens have been released… 99 are facing charges in different criminal cases, three are considered fugitives, and one individual ran away from their family," the NCHR reported.

Three other citizens were said to be located by the council. 

Halim Hanish, the lawyer for the missing Ashraf Shehata, said in press statements his client was not among the names released by the NCHR, and that another person of the same name on the list is currently serving a five-year sentence in Sharqiya's Zagazig prison.

Hanish's statements came after a meeting with officials in the interior ministry.

The interior ministry has repeatedly denied that Shehata, who has been missing for 744 days, was arrested by the country’s state security.

In November, the deputy minister for public relations and media Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim said in a TV interview that Shehata left the country according to a certificate of movement from the ministry’s passports authority.

The interior ministry has repeatedly said that there are no cases of forced disappearances in Egypt, and that "whoever claims otherwise must provide evidence," the assistant to the interior ministry's human rights sector Salah Fouad told state owned MENA agency, adding that the NCHR reports of forced disappearances were merely "rumours."

Several social media campaigns were launched in recent months to inquire about the whereabouts of 26-year-old former activist Mostafa Massouny, who has been missing for nearly seven months.

The interior ministry denied that Massouny was arrested "by the police or any affiliated security apparatuses."

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