312/05 Interights and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights/Egypt1

Summary of Facts

1. The complaint is filed by the International Centre for [the Legal Protection of] Human Rights (INTERIGHTS) 2, and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights pursuant to Articles 55 and 56 of the African Charter.
2. The authors allege that the victim under the present communication is a religious training Egyptian graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, who continuously sought to challenge the legality of his arrest after being arrested from his home on 18th of May 2003 without being given [any] reason but due to presumably his unpublished religious researches refuting the often held opinions of the ‘duty of Muslims to kill converts from Islam to other religions’ and ‘prohibition on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men’ which was distributed widely. Despite his several appeals and official complaints and the repeated release orders of the Emergency Court, the victim [is still] in prison. They further alleged that [the] Applicant has been made subject to assaults and harassments consequent to his arrest, and his complaints to get protection and investigation proved futile.
3. The authors submit that the Applicant’s rights have been violated under Articles 2, 5, 6, 7(1)(d), 8 and 9(2) of the [African] Charter as he was discriminated against in his enjoyment of Charter rights on the basis of his religious beliefs; inhumanely detained and denied the protection and respect of the right to dignity; arbitrarily arrested and detained and denied effective judicial remedy; and arbitrarily restricted to exercise his freedom to express his religious thoughts.
4. It is further alleged that the violations of the applicant’s rights have been made possible by the Respondent State’s State of Emergency which the African Commission has had, on a number of occasions, the opportunity of to consider and emphasis[es] that the Charter does not permit States to derogate from their responsibilities during states of emergency, and that this is “an expression of the principle that the restriction of human rights is not a solution to national difficulties”.
5. The authors averred that each time the Emergency Court has ordered the applicant’s release the Minister for Interior, Mr Habib El-Adli, has issued a new administrative detention decree under Article 3 of the Emergency Law which allows the President, or the Minster for the Interior to order, orally or in writing, the arrest and detention of those who ‘pose a threat to public security’.
6. The authors also alleged that the applicant has appealed his detention several times before the State Security Emergency Court, the only and final judicial body designated for that purpose under the Emergency Law, and the same court has passed seven orders for his release but none of them have been implemented. In addition the authors alleged that the Applicant has submitted five complaints to the State Security Prosecutor’s Office and ten complaints to the National Council of Human Rights but no response has been received.

Complaint

7. The authors of this communication contend that Applicant’s arbitrary arrest and detention, his subsequent treatment under detention, the failure of the Government of Egypt to provide the former with adequate and effective judicial remedy, and the manner in which the 24-year long State of Emergency has been applied in practice violates Articles 2, 5, 6, 7(1)(d), 8 and 9(2) of the Charter.

Procedure

8. The present communication was received by the Secretariat of the African Commission on the 22nd of November 2005.
9. The Secretariat of the [African] Commission acknowledged receipt of the communication to the contact persons of the INTERIGHTS and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights under letter ACHPR/LPROT/COMM/312/2005/RK of 29th November 2005, and informed the same that the communication will be the [African] Commission’s agenda for consideration at seizure stage at the 38th Ordinary Session of the [African] Commission which is being held from 21st November 2005 to 5th December 2005 in Banjul, The Gambia.
10. During its 38th Ordinary Session, the African Commission considered the communication and decided to be seized thereof.
11. On 19th December 2005, the Secretariat informed the parties of this decision, transmitted a copy of the complaint to the Respondent State and requested both parties to send in their arguments on admissibility.
12. On 16th February 2006, the Complainant forwarded its arguments on admissibility of the case.
13. On 29th March 2006, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the arguments and forwarded them to the Respondent State whose rejoinder was requested within three months.
14. By letter dated 19th May 2006, the complainant informed the African Commission that the alleged victim, Mr Methwalli Ibrahim Methwalli, was released and was requesting that the complaint be withdrawn.
15. During its 39th Ordinary Session that took place from 11th to 25th May 2006 in Banjul, The Gambia, the African Commission considered the complaint and heard the parties. On that occasion, the Complainant reiterated his wish to withdraw the complaint.

Decision of the African Commission



Consequently, the African Commission decides to strike out this communication.

Footnotes

1. Egypt ratified the African Charter on the 20th March 1984.
2. International Centre for [the Legal Protection of] Human Rights (INTERIGHTS) is a non-governmental organisation which was granted Observer Status with the African Commission during the 18th Ordinary Session in October 1990.
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