Egypt Watch

Egypt’s secret police arrest a lawyer and torture him for defending political detainees

The Egyptian Network for Human Rights documented the arrest by security forces of the lawyer, Fathi El-Taher Ghayati, a member of the Defence for Detainees in Sharqia, and his forcible disappearance and torture at the National Security headquarters in Zagazig.

The network revealed in a statement that security forces arrested Ghayati on May 18 from the street on his way home with his wife. He was taken to his house, searched, and its contents destroyed after his arrest, and all mobile phones and some data storage disks related to his work were confiscated. The security forces took him to an unknown destination.

According to network sources, Ghayati was forcibly disappeared and subjected to torture by various means inside the National Security Branch in Zagazig for more than 30 continuous hours before appearing at the Supreme State Security Prosecution in the Fifth Settlement on May 20, 2021. The network indicated that the State Security Prosecution detained him for 15 days on charges of belonging to a terrorist group and financing its activities.

The network pointed out that the arrest of lawyer Fathi Ghayati came for his defence of the detainees in Sharqia after repeated arrests by the Egyptian police against lawyers. She explained that the arrest of lawyers specialising in defending detainees and those interested in human rights are being arrested without an order from the Public Prosecution, violating Article 51 of the Law on Advocacy.

The network’s statement indicated that Egypt is witnessing an ongoing campaign of repression against lawyers and human rights defenders, considering the complete absence of the role of the General Syndicate in protecting lawyers and preserving their dignity. It pointed out that the legal and procedural violations against them continue, given that the law does not allow the arrest of lawyers, his provisional detention, or the filing of a criminal case against him without an order from the Public Prosecutor or the Attorney General.

It cited the text of the Lawyer Law 17/1983 in its Article 54, which stipulates that anyone who attacks or insults a lawyer with gestures, words, or threats while performing his profession or because of it shall be punished with the penalty prescribed for committing this crime.