Egypt: End Legal Action Against Drs. Magda Adly and Suzan Fayad
El Nadeem Against Violence and Torture said in a statement that the investigative magistrate in case 173, known as the “foreign funding case,” has summoned Dr. Suzan Fayad and Dr. Magda Adly, founders of El Nadeem Center, on Thursday the 31st of May 2018. The statement declared that “we cannot ignore the ‘coincidence’ that this summon comes a few weeks after El Nadeem has been awarded the 9th German Amnesty International award for human rights, as if punishing El Nadeem for its international recognition.” On June 3, the investigative magistrate decided to complete the investigation with Dr. Magda Adly to a later date to be set this week. WHRD Adly was informed of two charges laid against her: ‘establishing an entity that violates civil society law, professional and medical activities’ and ‘spreading information that is harmful to the state’.
This summon comes within the investigations of case 173, which is persecuting many human rights defenders and human rights organizations with arbitrary orders such as travel bans, asset freezes that affected personal and institutional accounts in coordinated, systematic efforts to dismantle the human rights movement in Egypt and to close down civil society spaces. El-Nadeem’s team has been previously harassed and prosecuted in the context of this case.
On February 17-2016, El Nadeem against Violence and Torture an order by the Central Administration of non-governmental medical institutions and licenses and with the authorization of the Minister of Health, through two policemen and an engineer from Azbakiy district, aimed at sealing the clinic with red wax. Mr. Taher Abu El-Nasr, El Nadeem’s lawyer, was able to postpone the decision. On an immediate subsequent visit by El Nadeem doctors to the Ministry of Health, they confirmed that the El Nadeem clinic did not commit any professional breaches. On April 5, 2016, the Ministry of Health tried for the second time to close the Center, but failed because doctors failed to provide the appropriate papers and because El Nadeem doctors refused to leave the Center. After a year of failed attempts, a large police force stormed El Nadeem center on the 9th of February, the team’s weekend, and closed the center with red wax. On November 15th, 2017, the investigative magistrate enlisted Dr. Suzan Fayad and Dr. Aida Seif El-Dawla to the growing number of WHRDs banned from travel due to “ongoing investigations conducted in case 173 of 2011.” On the 18th of October 2017, authorities banned Dr. Suzan Fayad from travelling to Tunisia to participate in a conference for the rehabilitation of victims of torture. The authorities also prevented Dr. Aida Seif El-Dawla from travelling to Berlin to receive the 9th German Amnesty international award for human rights.
El Nadeem is one of the pioneers in fighting torture & violence, and in rehabilitating victims. The Center has worked for over a quarter of a century to provide services to thousands of victims, as well as helping many Arab organizations in the region. It is clear that the Egyptian authorities are not aware of El Nadeem’s value on a local, regional and international levels. The authorities do not recognize the tremendous efforts of El-Nadeem in fulfilling needs that the government has failed in providing, and in holding perpetrators of torture and violence accountable.
El Nadeem Center’s work began in 1989 when El Nadeem doctors examined security forces’ evidence of torture on workers following a labor strike. El Nadeem doctors therefore decided to establish a mental health clinic to provide rehabilitation and psychological support services to victims of torture. The Center was officially established as a non-profit civil company in 1993. El Nadeem’s work was not limited to providing psychological and legal support, but also mobilizing the public against all legal and social constraints that limit the work of the human rights movement in Egypt. The Center has participated in several campaigns and has established more than 10 centers throughout Egypt to listen to and help women survivors of violence and abuse, as well as producing knowledge and sharing publications, articles and testimonies with local communities and media platforms in Egypt. Their work went beyond the local, as El-Nadeem also operated in the Middle East and North Africa, helping establish the Sudanese Group Against Torture. The Center is also a founding member of AMAN network, which includes various centers and groups working together against torture. In addition, El-Nadeem is fundamental and core member of the global movement that seeks to support victims of torture. The Center has a long history of documenting cases of torture, crimes and repression against victims. El-Nadeem published testimonies of at least a thousand people in a quarter of a century. From the early nineties, testimonies published by El Nadeem included those of the demonstrations of 2000 and 2003, which coincided with the rise of the human rights movement, in addition to documenting testimonies of torture of refugees in Egypt, and cases of torture during and after the revolution. El Nadeem also documented live testimonies of sexual torture from the beginning of 2012. The last published testimony on El-Nadeem’s website is in September 2017, related to the torture of a student who was arrested on trumped-up charges.
El-Nadeem against Violence and Torture is a founding member of the Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Dr. Magda Adly is also a consultant to the Coalition because of her experience in defending human rights in Egypt and the Arab world. The Coalition cannot be what it is today without the efforts of El Nadeem Center.
The Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which includes more than 42 human rights organizations, expresses its deep concern over the summoning of El-Nadeem co-founders. The Coalition is concerned with the Egyptian government’s continued harassment of El Nadeem and silencing the voices of its team. The Egyptian state must invest its energies in making Egypt a safe place for all, free of torture and must instead go pursue perpetrators of torture and violence in order to hold them accountable. The Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the MENA stands with Dr. Suzan Fayad and Dr. Magda Adly, who have bravely chosen to stand against the crimes of torture, despite all the harassment and prosecutions.
The Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa therefore demands that the Egyptian authorities:
– Stop the legal and security prosecution of El-Nadeem Center and its founders.
– Close the case 173, which aims to shrink and restrain the human rights movement in Egypt
– Review their constitution and laws. El-Nadeem is registered as a non-profit civil company and has been operating transparently for 25 years. Article 75 of the Egyptian Constitution states that “Citizens have the right to form civil associations and institutions on a democratic basis and shall have legal personality by notification.” Consequently, this summon under case 173 is illegal and illegitimate.