Lawyer representing cases of forced disappearances reported missing

Lawyer Islam Salama, who was working on a number of cases involving forced disappearances, was arrested in a security raid on his home early Tuesday, his father told Mada Masr. 

Ahmed Salama said security forces arrested his son at 1 am on Tuesday from his home in the town of Zifta, located in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiya. He emphasized that all attempts to identify his son’s whereabouts, or the nature of the charges leveled against him, had been unsuccessful.

Ahmed added that his son works in a law office in Cairo’s eastern district of Nasr City, and that Islam had gone to Zifta yesterday on a family visit. Security forces then raided Islam’s residence and thoroughly searched through the lawyer’s documents and personal belongings.

As he was being arrested, the father stated, Islam was informed by the officer presiding over the raid that it was probably just a case of mistaken identities, and would be resolved in the nearby city of Tanta.

Lawyer Mokhtar Mounir told Mada Masr that Islam served as a lawyer in numerous trials involving forced disappearances, both in a professional capacity and as a volunteer.

Mounir explained that Islam was representing another lawyer, Mohamed Abdel Fattah, who was accused of involvement in the July 2015 attack on the Embassy of Niger in Giza and had been referred to a military tribunal.

Mounir added that, prior to his arrest, Abdel Fattah had been representing groups of defendants in cases of a political nature. Abdel Fattah was then arrested and added to a list of defendants in the case of the Niger Embassy attack, said Mounir.

Since August 2015, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) has documented 340 cases of forced disappearance in Egypt. From these 340, the whereabouts of 175 have reportedly been identified, while the rest remain unaccounted for.

According to Halim Hanish, a lawyer from the ECRF, nearly half of those whose whereabouts have been revealed have been found in prisons. The charges leveled against them range from partaking in unauthorized protests to planning terrorist operations.


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