State Security Prosecution orders detention of 2 transgender people on charges of joining illegal organization
Malak al-Kashif in an interview with Erem News in 2018
 

Two transgender people, whose whereabouts were unknown after being swept up in the arrest campaign that has followed public outrage over the deadly train crash at Ramses Station last week, have been confirmed to have appeared before the prosecution, according to lawyer Ragia Omran.

Hossam Ahmed was arrested by security forces from a downtown Cairo coffee shop on February 27 — the same day as the deadly train crash that left 22 dead and 45 injured — alongside two other people, who have since been released.

After being missing for four days, Ahmed appeared before State Security Prosecution on Monday, where he was handed a 15-day detention order pending investigation into changes of joining an illegal organization and using social media to disturb public order, according to Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) lawyer Mohamed Eissa.

Ahmed is currently being held in the Abdeen Police Station, Eissa added.

After being arrested on Wednesday in a sting operation, Malak al-Kashif, 19, appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution on Thursday for questioning, Omran told Mada Masr.

Following interrogations, Kashif was handed a 15-day detention order, pending investigations into her involvement in alleged protests over the train crash, Omran added. She faces the same charges as Ahmed.

Kashif’s lawyer, Amr Mohamed, previously told Mada Masr that security forces arrested Kashif from her residence in Giza on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms filled out the picture of what happened, stating that security forces coerced Kashif’s family into setting up her arrest. According to the ECRF, Kashif’s mother called her at the behest of security authorities at dawn on Wednesday, saying that she was gravely ill. When Kashif, who was staying with a friend, rushed to her home to attend to her mother, she was apprehended by security forces.

Reports of Kashif’s arrest were widely circulated on social media on Wednesday, with users drawing attention to the fact that her detention may leave her vulnerable to serious abuse at the hands of Egyptian authorities and other inmates, including the potential for harassment, assault and rape.

These threats are exacerbated by the fact that Kashif’s official documents, including her national ID, identify her as “male,” despite what social media users say have been sustained efforts to change her documentation. As such, it is likely that she will be held in male detention facilities, a number of social media users pointed out.

Mada Masr has not been able to confirm where Kashif is being held, or if she is being detained in all-male facility.

Prior to Kashif’s appearance in custody, her lawyer sent notices to Egypt’s prosecutor general and the minister of interior to report her arrest. When she was arrested, Kashif was in possession of medical paperwork issued by the Al-Hussein University Hospital that document her transition process, the lawyer added.

On Thursday, Omran, Mohamed and lawyer Azza Soliman met with the head of the Supreme State Security Prosecution to discuss Kashif and Ahmed’s arrests and submitted a request for their places of detention to be disclosed.

Omran told Mada Masr that lawyers have requested Kashif’s immediate release in order for her to be able to continue medical treatment of severe injuries she sustained following a suicide attempt in the summer of 2018.

Lawyers have ascertained that Ahmed has not been subject to abuse while in custody, and prosecutors have informed them that they are taking precautions to ensure Kashif’s safety.

Kashif and Ahmed have been added to Case 1739/2018, which includes at least 35 people who have been arrested over the past week and are being held pending investigations into charges of joining an illegal organization and spreading false news. The case also includes six members of political parties who were arrested in January after attending a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

In an ongoing arrest campaign that started on February 27, at least 70 people have been arrested across Egypt — mainly in Cairo and Alexandria — for alleged involvement in small-scale anti-government demonstrations in the aftermath of a train crash in Cairo’s Ramses Station that killed 22 people on February 27.

While social media users criticized the government’s lack of investment in railway infrastructure and called for protests following the crash, Mada Masr has not been able to document any protests since last week’s deadly accident.

Many of those detained have been apprehended in public spaces in Egypt’s two largest cities, in areas where security forces had been deployed to prevent protests. Several people have also been arrested from their homes.

The majority of those who have been detained as part of Case 1739/2018 are under 20 years old and do not have any history of political activism, lawyers previously told Mada Masr.

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