The signatory human rights organizations express their solidarity with the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate in its declaration of the 1st June as a day of national mourning. They add their voices to the Syndicate’s demand that the Interior Minister – the political and executive head of security bodies and the police forces – resign. For the first time in Egyptian history security forces and the police used sexual assault, or facilitated its use by groups of thugs against members of the opposition protesting against the amendment of article 76 of the Constitution. The signatory organizations also call on the President of the Republic, in his capacity as leader of the ruling party, to take the necessary measures to investigate the party leaders who directed this battlefield of shame. Their names were provided in the testimonies of the women who were the targets of these despicable tactics.
The 25th May 2005 will go down in history not as the anniversary of the Constitutional referendum, but, rather, the day when this shameful weapon was openly used en masse in public.
Over the last fifty years, Egypt has witnessed the increasing spread of the use of this contemptible treatment against both men and women in state security headquarters as a tool of investigation, torture and forcing confessions. The Egyptian cinema, reports and both Egyptian and international human rights organizations have all documented these low practices, and the names of those officers directly responsible for them, or under whose supervision they were committed, have occasionally be revealed.
Until the Egyptian judiciary wins the independence, it has been fighting for over the last 40 years, and until the independence of the attorney general is realized, the crime of 25th May 2005 will be repeated, just as – according to human rights reports – torture has become a routine, widespread and daily practice. Until the missing justice in Egypt is once again considered, it is perhaps appropriate that the Journalists’ Syndicate and human and women’s rights’ groups organize a public people’s court to try the organizers and perpetrators of the 25th May crimes, the leaders of the ruling party and heads of security bodies. This should be in collaboration with representatives of international NGOs and women’s groups and groups concerned with media freedom.
The signatory organizations to this statement condemn the press statement issued by the deputy head of the National Council for Human Rights which repeated government claims that the events of May 25 were merely exchanged acts of violence. The statement lumps together the National Democratic Party (NDP), leaders of the opposition and trade unions – most likely referring to the Journalists’ and Lawyers’ Syndicates – and attributes responsibility for the acts of violence to them, and for “criminal measures” to be taken against them!
The crimes committed on the 25th May 2005 not only dispel the myth of government claims of political reform, but foretell danger in the coming six months which will witness presidential and parliamentary elections – political battles which are even more sensitive and significant than the political battle surrounding the article 76 amendment.
The signatory organizations fear that Egypt is about to live one of the most violent periods in its history, when all independent voices (regardless of whether these voices belong to individuals, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, the press or satellite channels) will be targeted using the most malicious and dirtiest methods in the absence of an independent judiciary and attorney general, because of the strength of security bodies who are above the law and the Constitution and because of the complete absence for the last 50 years of a true parliament to hold the executive in check.
This denuding and assault of Egyptian women is symbolic of the current situation in Egypt, which lacks a parliament and independent judiciary and attorney general able to protect them and hold to account those who attack human rights, men and women.
1. Egyptian Association for Advancement through Social Partnership
2. Egyptian Association Against Torture
3. Egyptian Association for the Strengthening of Democratic Development
4. Group for Democratic Development
5. Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners
6. Shumuu Association for Humanitarian Rights and Developing Local Community
7. Arab Organization for Criminal Reform
8. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
9. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
10. Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
11. Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights
12. Land Center for Human Rights
13. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
14. Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence and Torture
15. Habi Center for Environmental Rights
16. Hisham Mubarak Law Center
17. Arab Network for Human Rights Information
18. Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services
19. The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
20. The National Association for Human Rights and Human Development
21. The New Woman Institute
22. The Center for Alternative Development Studies
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