Egypt's State Information Service SIS has denounced in a statement a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on the alleged torture of Egyptian-American citizen Khalid Hassan as being biased, politicised, unprofessional and not properly documented.
"Human Rights Watch published a report 11 October on the torture of Hassan, in which allegations of torture and enforced disappearance were made," SIS said in response to the report.
"In addition to inaccuracies in the report, it also deliberately fails to mention the facts in full, and even ignores the full presentation of the bilateral dialogue process on the case of the defendant, Khalid Hasan, between SIS and HRW, either via email or lengthy telephone calls that witnessed long and detailed discussions," the statement said.
"Despite the fact that SIS dealt in a professional manner with previous HRW reports on allegations of torture inside Egyptian prisons, and its replies to HRW's inquiries in an effort to build confidence, HRW continued to misrepresent the facts by publishing its almost one-sided reports, without fully taking into account the input the other side provides, along with the lack of documents to support their allegations, and we consider this a violation of professional basics of the preparation and publishing of reports," SIS said. "This places our confidence in HRW in deep doubt," it added.
SIS said Egypt's military prosecution ordered Khalid placed under preventive custody on 03 May 2018 after indicting on terrorism related charges in accordance with Egyptian laws and the Egyptian Constitution. "Khalid was visited by Mrs Sophia O'Donnell, the US deputy consul general, and Mr Khaled Ibrahim Darwish, one of the US embassy's personnel, on 3 September 2018. This was one of three visits made by US embassy officials to the defendant," the statement said.
"Three lawyers attended investigation sessions with the defendant over the past few months; their names are Ahmed Nasr Ali Al Malah, Hanaa Abdel Latif and Engy Hassan. Three other lawyers defending Khalid attended his interrogation in accordance with the law on 23 September, and they were Sameh Al-Nimr, Ahmed Hassaneen and Sayed Abul Ma’ati. During this session the military prosecution extended the preventive detention of the defendant in accordance with the law," the SIS statement read.
SIS said that Khalid Hassan faces legal charges of belonging to the ISIS (Islamic State group)-affiliated terrorist organisation Wilayet Sina’a, and that terrorism constitutes a real threat not only to peace, security and development, but also to the basic pillars of human rights because it violates a number of those principles.
"The report deliberately mentions certain terms that are no longer in use in the Egyptian legal system, such as the term "(administrative) detention", which is incorrect and no longer exists in Egyptian law, as it was prohibited by the Supreme Constitutional Court since 2011," the statement said.
"The HRW report alleges that it has 'very strong' evidence that Khalid Hassan was forcibly disappeared for four months, publishing a picture of a handwritten paper of a supposed request from his family to authorities 15 February the same year inquiring upon his whereabouts. This raises the question of whether such evidence exists? Why it has not been submitted to the competent authorities for investigation? How legitimate and credible is this evidence? Who determines alleged credibility in such matters? Or are these merely claims similar to that of the alleged request referred to earlier," the statement added.
"In order to resolve this matter once and for all, through the competent legal channels, SIS calls on HRW to submit an official report to the Egyptian prosecutor ceneral to take legal action on these allegations in accordance with the evidence provided," SIS concluded.