A joint task force from the Health Ministry and the police attempted to close Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence on Tuesday.
Magda Ali, one of the founders of Al-Nadeem, told Mada Masr that a Health Ministry representative came to the center with three members of the local police to try to enforce its closure. She confirmed that the center remains open after Nadeem staff members refused to leave.
The task force left after staff informed them they couldn’t vacate the premises as doctors were treating patients inside the center. Before they left, the delegation made a call to someone Ali believes was an Interior Ministry general.
Al-Nadeem reported the task force didn’t have an official closure order on their Facebook account.
Lawyer for the center, Taher Abul Nasr, confirmed it is still open and functioning. “The doctors are still at the center and are waiting for an official order to determine what they will do,” he said.
“How to get rid of charges for torturing a citizen to death? Shut down a center for the rehabilitation of victims of torture. (This is a right reserved by the Egyptian Interior Ministry),” Aida Seif al-Dawla, another founder of Al-Nadeem, later posted.
The Health Ministry previously ordered the closure of Al-Nadeem in late February, claiming the center shifted its focus from being purely a medical facility to taking on human rights issues and advocacy, in violation of the law.
Al-Nadeem responded to these accusations, clarifying that the wider organization does not fall under the supervision of the Health Ministry. Al-Nadeem has a separate clinic for psychiatric evaluation, which has permits from the Doctors Syndicate to operate. The wider organization, it explained, conducts other activities, including providing training and issuing reports.
Al-Nadeem argued in a statement at the time, “If the ministry means by human rights activity, [exposing] ‘torture and police oppression of members of terrorist organizations’, this activity is done by the center not the clinic, which is none of the Ministry’s business.”