Anti-torture organisation challenges order to close
On 17 February 2016, the Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture. No explanation was given, apart that the organisation had violated the terms of its license.
The Nadeem centre, established in 1993, is the only specialist clinic in Egypt that is dedicated to treating victims of torture and trauma. It provides support and resources to victims of police violence and sexual violence, as well as their families. It also organises awareness campaigns and it documents cases of ill-treatment, torture and death inside jails or police stations.
The staff at the Nadeem centre has vowed to continue their work despite the closure order.
On February 22, centre representative will meet with the Health minister to appeal against the decision to shut down the organisation.
“This is a political decision,” Aida Seif el-Dawla, one of the Centre’s founders, said during a press conference. “And it’s coming from the cabinet that represents all the actors that are keen on the survival of this regime, despite the oppression and the torture that the Egyptian people are living through on a daily basis.”
The closure order against the Nadeem centre is the latest example of the sweeping crackdown on human rights defenders in the country. Egyptian authorities are using any possible means to silence, harass and intimidate those who speak out against human rights abuses.
The closure of the centre comes amidst the international outcry against the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni, who was tortured and killed on January 25. According to some sources and media outlets, the student was detained by security forces. Egyptian authorities, however, have denied any involvement in the case.
Magda Adly, Director of the Nadeem centre and coordinator of the programme to support women victims of violence, has said to Front Line Defenders:
“Unfortunately, after the revolution there was severe deterioration in human rights. Before the revolution we had always worked against torture. After 20 years, we reached the point where we have to remind people that torture isn’t good, but people are saying that those tortured deserved it.”
“We are in a painful situation,” adds Magda. “Not only the authorities’ level of arbitrariness has increased, but also people’s attitude towards accepting the torture of others. This makes our life as human rights activists much harder. The government uses all possible methods to stop us”.
For further information about the crackdown on human rights defenders in Egypt, please visit our website: www.frontlinedefenders.org/egypt