Egypt: attempt to close torture rehabilitation centre condemned

Thousands have been jailed in Egypt under the crackdown, many facing torture behind bars © Amnesty International
‘The El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence provides a lifeline to hundreds of victims of torture’ - Said Boumedouha
 
Moves by the Egyptian authorities to shut down the country’s renowned El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence appear to mark an expansion of the ongoing crackdown on human rights activists in Egypt, said Amnesty International today. 
 
Earlier today, members of the security forces entered the centre and presented an order for it to shut down its operations. 
 
The centre has been licensed since 1993 and has provided hundreds of torture victims with vital services, including counselling and legal assistance. No explanation was provided over why the order was issued today.  
 
The move comes after an international outcry after the discovery of the mutilated body of the Italian student Giulio Regeni on the outskirts of Cairo earlier this month. Regeni had apparently suffered torture before his death. Amnesty has documented numerous cases of torture in Egypt in recent years and there have been reports of deaths in custody as a result of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to adequate medical care.
 
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Said Boumedouha said:
 
“The El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence provides a lifeline to hundreds of victims of torture and the families of people who have been subjected to enforced disappearance. 
 
“This looks to us like a barefaced attempt to shut down an organisation which has been a bastion for human rights and a thorn in the side of the authorities for more than 20 years.
 
“The authorities must freeze the order to close the centre and provide it with a clear explanation of the reasons behind the order. The El Nadeem Center must be given an opportunity to challenge the order before a court.” 
 

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