16 December 2018 06:46 AM

Egypt State Information Service (SIS)

SIS: Amnesty International’s statement on the torture of children in Egypt is not based on tangible evidence and lacks accuracy

Thursday، 22 November 2018 - 01:31 PM

SIS: Amnesty International’s statement on the torture of children in Egypt is not based on tangible evidence and lacks accuracy

 

In a statement it released on Tuesday November 20th Amnesty International relayed allegations that a number of children were subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and solitary confinement in Egypt. AI’s statement claimed that at least 12 children we involuntarily disappeared and that 6 of the 12 were tortured. However, AI only published the details of only 2 of the cases therefor The State Information Service will only address them exclusively.

A) Allegations of Torture and Enforced Disappearance

AI’s statement made serious allegations that the two children were forcefully disappeared, and were tortured while in custody of the Egyptian authorities. The stories AI relayed in the statement were not based on well-grounded sources; moreover, the lawyers of the two defendants did not officially submit a claim that they were tortured, and did not request that they be examined the forensic medicine authority as dictated by the law in such cases. As for the allegations of their enforced disappearance no reliable evidence was provided to validate such claims, neither were they provided to prove torture allegations for that matter.

B) The Legal Situation of the Two Cases

1) The Case of Abdullah Boumidian Nasreldin Oukasha

After checking with the competent authorities, it became clear to SIS that case No. 570 of the year 2018 is still under investigation by the State Security Prosecution (Not the Military prosecution) and that the juvenile and the other defendants have not been referred to court yet. The prosecution placed Abdullah under observation in a legal juvenile observation center and not in an ordinary prison where adults are incarcerated, and that comes in accordance with article 119 of the Child’s law of 1996 that says “A child who has not reached fifteen (15) years of age shall not be placed in temporary custody. The Public Prosecution may place him in one of the observation centers, for a period not exceeding one (1) week, and shall make him available upon each request if the circumstances of the case necessitate keeping him in custody. However, the period for keeping the child in custody shall not exceed one (1) week unless the court decides to extend the period according to the regulations for temporary custody as stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Code.” Clearly the previous article states that a child may not be placed under preventive custody for more than a week, however the court responsible for preventive custody may extend the juvenile’s detention in a legal observation center with the same guarantees stipulated by the criminal procedures law for preventive custody before the prosecution refers the case of the competent court.

It's worth mentioning that the juvenile defendant is facing charges of tracking military and police Armored Personnel Carriers for terrorist groups in Northern Sinai, so that they can target them, and that Abdullah’s elder brother Abdulrahman who also happens to be a indicted in the same case incited him to commit this vile crime.

 

2) The case of Asser Mohamed Zahreldin Abdel Warith

The prosecution charged Asser with crimes he committed after turning 15, namely the crime of joining a terrorist organization that plotted and executed violent attacks. Based on what has been mentioned the prosecution referred Asser and the other defendants to the State Security Court in accordance with article 122 of the Child’s law which says “The Child Court shall exclusively deal with issues concerning the child when accused of a crime or in case of his delinquency. The Court shall also be entitled to pass judgments regarding criminal cases set forth in Articles 113 to 116 and in Article 119 of this Law. As an exception to the provision of the previous paragraph, the Criminal Court or the Supreme State Security Court, according to each case, shall have jurisdiction over criminal cases where the accused - at the time of committing the crime - is a child above fifteen (15) years of age while the accomplice is not a child and the case necessitated bringing the criminal action against the accomplice jointly with the child. In this case, the Court – prior to passing its judgment – shall examine the circumstances of the child from all aspects and may seek the assistance of experts if it so wishes." The article clearly shows that the law has made an exception that allowed the Criminal Court and the State Security Court to prosecute a defendant if he is above 15 years of age at the time of the perpetration of the crime, and if he fully colluded in his crime with an adult. The defendant is of course entitled to all the special guarantees stipulated by the law for children.

This comes in addition to article 111 which says “No accused person shall be sentenced to death, life imprisonment, or forced labor if, at the time of committing the crime, he did not reach the age of eighteen (18) years. Without prejudice to the provision of Article 17 of the Penal Code, if the child who has reached the age of fifteen (15) years commits a crime punishable by a death sentence, or life imprisonment, or forced labor, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment. Furthermore, if the crime committed is punishable by imprisonment, he shall be placed in custody for a period not less than three (3) months.” The previous article clearly shows that the law does not apply all penalties to juveniles and has exempted them from life imprisonment and capital punishment; the law also set the maximum punishment for a child to imprisonment. Finally article 133 of the same law states “If a judgment is passed sentencing the accused, who was considered to be above the age of fifteen (15) years, then it was established through official documents that he has not reached that age, the lawyer shall raise the issue to the Court where the judgment was passed to reconsider its ruling according to the Law.” The article shows that the law does not force a juvenile to abide by the standards of appeal granted to adults, because if he proves that he was below the age of 15 he can report it to the attorney general so that he can in turn submit it to the court so that the sentence can be changed.

Conclusion

After reviewing both cases it's obvious that the Egyptian authorities have abided by the standards emphasized by article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as it has offered the necessary guarantees of justice in this context, and has taken into account the young age of those two defendants. Finally, SIS urges AI in its capacity as a large and prominent organization to be more accurate while relaying allegations of human rights violations in Egypt. SIS also calls upon AI not to take part in the systematic politicized smear campaigns that aim to damage the image the Egyptian state locally and abroad through releasing such statements.

 

 State Information Service

Human Rights Unit

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