Urgent Action Update: Held Incommunicado Despite Release Order (Egypt: UA 176.18)

On 19 February 2019, a judge ordered the conditional release of Egyptian activist Islam Khalil. On 25 February, the police moved Islam to al-Santa police station to complete his release procedures, but instead of releasing him the authorities held him incommunicado. On 10 March 2018, Islam was forcibly disappeared after National Security Agency officers had abducted him. He remained in arbitrary detention for almost a year facing the trumped-up charges of “membership in an illegal group” and “disseminating false information.” His family believes that Islam is at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment while in incommunicado detention.



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President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2391 1441
Ambassador Yasser Reda
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400 I Fax: 202 244 5131
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EgyptEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Your Excellency,

On 19 February 2019 a judge in the terrorism circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the conditional release of Egyptian activist Islam Khalil. On 25 February, Islam was moved from Tora Investigation Prison to a police station in his hometown of al-Santa in al-Gharbiyah governorate, to complete his release procedures. Instead of releasing Islam, the authorities held him incommunicado, refusing to inform his family of his whereabouts.

Islam was first forcibly disappeared in 2015 for 122 days during which he was tortured and held in solitary confinement under charges of “membership to an illegal group” among other trumped-up charges. On 10 March 2018, National Security Agency officers abducted Islam while he was visiting Aswan, and his family only learned of his fate and whereabouts on 2 April. Islam’s health has severely deteriorated since his detention, owing to his torture back in 2015 as well as the harsh conditions of detention. His family believes that he is once again at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment and is need of immediate medical attention.   

I urge you to immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of Islam Khalil who is being held incommunicado instead of being released as per a court’s order, to drop all the charges against him, and to release him immediately and unconditionally as he has been detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. Pending his release, I urge you to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and that his conditions of detention are in line with international standards. I urge you to launch a prompt, thorough, independent, effective and impartial investigation into the ongoing and previous incommunicado detention of Islam and allegations of torture, make the findings public and ensure that all those suspected to be responsible for violating the detainee’s rights are brought to justice in fair trials.

Yours sincerely,