At present, the most serious and politically salient human rights issues in Egypt are arbitrary detentions and violations of due process; abuses by security forces including torture and mistreatment in detention facilities; and the restrictions placed on civil society.
Due to the fact that talking about personal psychological problems is still a taboo in Egypt, the work of the El Nadim Centre is of vital importance for the mental well-being of victims of torture.
El Nadim, established in August 1993, is the only center in Egypt which provides specialized psychological support to survivors of violence in detention centers. The center serves an average of 400 new clients per year.
The organization runs two programs; a torture rehabilitation program and another one for violence against women. In addition to the psychological support offered, the organization also provides: social support; referral to other medical disciplines when needed; training on social and occupational reintegration; advocacy on behalf of its clients as well as broader advocacy against torture and violence proposing legislative amendments and demanding accountability for the perpetrators.
After a long period of groundless legal harassment, the center has now been forcibly closed by security forces. Just a few weeks ago the center has issued the following statement, alongside its Annual Report on torture — which as its authors note was carefully removed from media reports and news on social media, and therefore was almost unheard of inside Egypt.
“We release this Archive on the 6th anniversary of the 25th of January revolution, when the so called Police-Day turned into a day of revolution against that same police force and against all the atrocities it committed and continues to commit. We have no doubt that the news items we have managed to collect from the various media channels are but the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface or out of our reach and that of the media are many more crimes which we failed to access news about. For that we apologize for the people afflicted by them.
This archive begins with some official quotes made during 2016, beginning from the head of state to one of its main media spokespersons. Most of which are quotes that deny and condemn those who oppose that denial. According to those officials Egypt witness one of its best democratic eras, its prisons are akin to hotels to the extent that prisoners sometimes do not want to be released. Talk about forced disappearance is a lie that targets to defame Egypt’s image in front of the world. No torture is practiced in prisons or police stations, and detainees are receiving the best medical care!!!
This media archive testifies to the opposite. The archive does not include testimonies taken by doctors working at El Nadim clinic, but includes only testimonies published on the various media channels, including social media. At the end of each testimony there is a link to the original publication for whoever would like to check.
We have classified statistics into killing (extrajudicial, although we oppose all killing even if ordained by law), death in detention, individual torture, collective maltreatment and torture, medical neglect in detention, forced disappearance, reappearance and finally acts of state violence outside places of detention.
Although we believe that every case of forced disappearance is most likely a victim of torture (for why else would security forces would deprive a detainee from every contact with the outside world if not to seize confessions under coercion) the listed number of torture cases does not include those who have disappeared unless they have spoken about their torture after reappearing.
In addition, we have also published the numbers of those who have reappeared according to the collected news. All of them reappeared in state institutions, none in Syria or with ISIS, as some claim.
The archive also has sections of letters sent from prisons, testimonies of former detainees as well as testimonies of their families during their time of detention. Those sections, we believe are the most valuable part of this archive. They testify to an era as well as to the resilience of individuals who, although deprived of their freedom, hold on to their humanity and belief in human values and solidarity.
2016 was a heavy year. At about this time in 2015, El Nadim released its 2015 archives of oppression, upon which the government made two attempts at its closure. This time around, at the beginning of 2017, El-Nadim Center has been forcibly and indefinitely closed by the Egyptian authorities.
Sources: The Arabist website & Human Rights Tulip
For more articles and videos by Ashraf Ezzat visit his website
The author is an Egyptian, born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. Ashraf Ezzat joined the staff of Veterans Today in 2009.
Graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University but keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research, documentary filmmaking, and writing. He is a regular guest lecturer at the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the national museum of Cairo.
History of the ancient Near East and specifically of Ancient Egypt has long been of special interest to him.
In his writings, Ashraf Ezzat approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a contributing factor in our existing life; and to him, history is as relevant and vibrant as the current moment.
In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom & spirituality had been obstructed and diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion.
He is the author of Egypt knew neither Pharaoh nor Moses, a kindle book published in 2015 and available on amazon.
He writes regularly at many well-known online websites such as Dissident Voice and What Really Happened.
Dr. Ezzat is also an independent documentary filmmaker. His debut film was back in 2011 The Annals of Egypt Revolution and in 2012 he made Tale of Osiris a short animation for children.
In 2013 his short film, The Pyramids: Egyptian Genesis
The following documentaries were screened at many international film festivals in Europe.
In 2020 the documentary film: SEA OF LOVE: Transforming Journey to Egypt (Documentary)
In 2021 Egyptian Mountain of the Dead (Documentary)
Dr. Ezzat is working now on his upcoming documentary “Egypt knew neither Pharaoh nor Moses”.
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