El Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of victims of Violence received the following information regarding the disappearance of the defendants in the so called Hezbollah case from Tora prison.
Upon their visit to the prison on the 18th of July 2010the families of the prisoners were told by the prison administration that their relatives were not in the prison. Inquiring about their whereabouts they were told that “they are not here and we do not know where they are”, which constitutes a case of forced disappearance in violation of all international human rights previsions and laws.
El Nadim Center expresses its concern regarding the disappearance of the sentenced prisoners especially that earlier reports indicated that they have been held incommunicado throughout the duration of the interrogation, which usually indicates their incarceration in state security investigations headquarters where torture is almost always likely to take place. Upon their first contact with the media, during the first court session, the defendants stated that they have been subjected to severe torture and maltreatment.
The disappearance of the prisoners and the alleged lack of information by prison administration regarding their whereabouts raises serious concerns that they are again being held in the custody of state security investigation, which involves a major threat to their safety and lives.
The center demands that security authorities in Egyptreveal the whereabouts of the prisoners and the reason for their displacement and holds the minister of interior personally responsible for their safety and lives.
On the 26th of July 2009 the high state security prosecution ordered the referral of 26 defendants in the so called “Lebanese Hezbollah organization cell” to emergency high state security court, (an exceptional court) accusing them of “collaboration with a foreign organization (Hezbollah) between 2005 and 2008 to undertake terrorist activities against ships and military boats crossing the Suez canal and tourists.
The defendants, including two Lebanese, 5 Palestinians, 1 Sudanese and 18 Egyptians received prison sentences ranging between 25 and three years.
El Nadim Center
Cairo23 July 2010