CHAIRMAN: Professor E.V.O. Dankwa
VICE CHAIRPERSON: Mrs. Julienne Ondziel-Gnelenga
COMMISSIONERS: Professor Isaac Nguema, Dr. Hatem Ben Salem, Mr.
Kamel Rezag-Bara, Dr. Nyameko Barney Pityana, Mr. Andrew Ranganayi
Chigovera, Mrs. Vera Mlangazuwa Chirwa, Mrs. Jainaba Johm
||Egyptian Org. for Human Rights v.
Egypt, Comm. 201/97, 13th ACHPR AAR Annex V (1999-2000)
||IHRDA, Compilation of Decisions on
Communications of the African Commission On Human and Peoples’
Rights Extracted from the Commission’s Activity Reports 1994-2001,
at 88 (2002); Documents of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights, Vol. 2, at 182 (Malcolm D. Evans & Rachel Murray
eds., 2009); (2000) AHRLR 90 (ACHPR 2000)
22nd Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
23rd Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
24th Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
25th Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
26th Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
27th Session: Commissioner Nyameko Pityana
SUMMARY OF FACTS
1. On June 17, 1997, a State Security Investigation force arrested eight
people for peacefully opposing the implementation of Law 96 of 1992, which
regulates the relation between landowners and tenants of agricultural land.
The individuals arrested were Hamdien Sabbahi, a journalist; Mohamed Abdu, a
veterinarian; Mohamed Soliman Fayad and Harudi Heikal, lawyers; Mahmoud
Soliman Abu-Rayya, Mahmoud Al-Sayid Abu-Rayya and Sabe Hamid Ibrahim,
farmers; and Al-Tokhi Ahmed Al-Tokhi, who was taken hostage pending the
surrender of his brother to the authorities.
2. Mahmoud Soliman Abu-Rayya, Mahmoud Al-Sayid Abu-Rayya and Sabe Hamid
Ibrahim were arrested for hanging black banners on their houses in protest
of Law 96. Mohamed Abdu, Mohamed Soliman Fayad and Harudi Heikal were
arrested shortly after participating in a rally held in Banha to protest Law
3. Hamdien Sabbahi was apparently arrested for promoting a signature
petition meant to be sent to the President in protest of Law 96.
4. When the SSI force arrested Hamdien Sabbahi, they broke into his office,
searched it, and confiscated some documents. The arrest and search were
carried out without a warrant or the presence of a public prosecution
representative, which contradicts state law.
5. Hamdien Sabbahi, Mohamed Abdu, Mohamed Soliman Fayad and Harudi Heikal
have all been charged with violations of Article 86 (bis) and 86 (bis) (A)
of the Penal Code introduced as part of an anti-terrorist law. Specifically,
these individuals were charged with;
A. Promoting - orally - ideas that oppose the basic foundations of the
present regime and inciting hatred and contempt against it; encouraging the
breakdown of the Constitutional principles; opposing the implementation of
laws and promoting resistance against the authorities (including terrorist
B. Possession of printed materials and publications that encourage the
6. It is not clear that Mahmoud Soliman Abu-Rayya, Mahmoud Al-Sayid Abu-Rayya
and Sabe Hamid Ibrahim have been charged with any crime yet.
7. Following the imprisonment of Hamdien Sabbahi, Mohamed Abdu, Mohamed
Soliman Fayad and Harudi Heikal, a prison officer ordered them into a cell,
stripped off their clothes and made them stand with their faces against the
wall and ordered soldiers to beat them. They were beaten until they suffered
temporary paralysis. Their personal belongings and medicines were
confiscated, their heads were shaved, and they were forced to wear prison
8. The author alleges violation by the government of the Arab Republic of
Egypt of Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 11 of the Charter.
9. Communication 201/97, sent by the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights
was received at the Secretariat on June 22, 1997.
10. An addendum to the communication regarding measures taken by the Public
Prosecutor's office was received at the Secretariat on June 26, 1997.
11. At the 22nd ordinary session, the Commission decided to be seized of the
communication and postponed taking a decision on admissibility to the 23rd
12. At subsequent sessions, the Commission reviewed the issue of exhaustion
of local remedies by the complainant. To this end, parties were requested to
submit all the information at their disposal to the Secretariat.
13. At the 27th session, the Commission took a decision on the admissibility
of the communication.
14. Article 56(5) of the Charter provides:
“Communications…shall be considered if they:
… are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious
that this procedure is unduly prolonged.”
15. The Commission observed that on the surface of the communication, the
complainant did not exhaust domestic remedies. It noted further that despite
repeated demands, parties have not responded to its requests for additional
information on the issue of exhaustion of local remedies and that the
complaint had been pending for a long time. In the absence of such
information, the Commission declared the case closed because conditions for
admissibility have not been satisfied.
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, THE COMMISSION declares the communication
Done in Algiers, Algeria on 11 May 2000.