In the military junta's Egypt, brutal persecution and atrocities against human rights defenders is the way to muzzle them and to pressure organizations that expose and document daily violations by the police force. Brutal harassment ranges from physical to psychological torture in places of detention. Most often, prison cells where human rights defenders are held are flooded with water; and they are given the sleep-deprivation treatment. Their cells are searched too frequently using sniffer dogs.
Harassment and persecution of rights defenders coincide with a wider crackdown in which coup junta forces are shuttering human rights organizations such as the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, and the Nadeem Center for the Prevention of Torture, to halt campaigns that expose the coup regime's violations of local and international laws and its systematic torture of all political and criminal prisoners. Moreover, the junta regime has blocked 460 websites belonging to Egyptian and international media outlets and human rights organizations.
Abdel-Moneim Ibrahim Metwalli is the son of human rights defender Ibrahim Metwalli – the lawyer of the disappeared, also the lawyer of Italian student Giulio Regeni's family, who was arrested in Cairo airport on his way to Geneva to attend follow-up sessions of the International Human Rights Council on enforced disappearances. Metwalli (the father) was then subjected to forced disappearance. Three days later, he was brought by junta forces to the Supreme State Security prosecution office, accused of conspiring with the United Nations and publishing false reports on the issue of enforced disappearances.
"My father is under torture in detention, held in solitary confinement. He is not allowed to communicate or send any messages or letters in any way to reassure us about himself and his health," Metwalli said.
"We do not know what they will force my father to confess to! Nor what trumped-up charges they will lay against him!
"My father was tortured to sign fabricated confessions, according to his lawyers who asked for forensic examinations for him to document evidence of said torture, but the prosecution refused, seeking to delay such examination until physical injuries from torture heal off."
The same scene was repeated with human rights defender Ahmed Shawki, one of the founders of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared. He was arrested and subjected to forced disappearance for one week and then appeared (with severe torture marks all over) in the Supreme State Security prosecution office on a fabricated charge. He also had a ban of all visits.
This prompted Ahmed Shawki's family to file a lawsuit before the administrative courts to enable them to visit him and to cancel the unjust decision to ban visits for him and all the defendants in the same case despite the harsh conditions of detention which included depriving detainees of medicines and essential medical treatment.
Moreover, human rights activist Dr Hanan Badredin was arrested and detained at Al-Qanater Women's Prison, after she visited a survivor of enforced disappearance who had information and details about her husband Khaled Ezzedin's disappearance. She has been held in custody for more than 8 months now, in extremely difficult conditions of detention.
Despite international and domestic human rights demands to improve the situation of human rights defenders in junta jails, like the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and various Egyptian human rights organizations, the situation of rights defenders is worsening, with the coup regime escalating its ruthlessness and vindictiveness in torturing and persecuting them.