Cairo: 21 October, 2019

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that after 10 days of the brutal police assault on its executive director Gamal Eid, and after beginning to recover and return to work, it declares the details of the attack and its position on it as follows:

The crime:  

–  At around 9pm on Thursday, October 10, in one of Cairo’s largest New Maadi streets (El Nasr Street), next to Peking Restaurant, a huge man in his 30s attacked ANHRI’s director, grabbed the cellphone from his hand, and tried to steal his bag while repeatedly beating him with the butt of a gun on his chest, saying “Let the bag out of your hand, Gamal”.

– When people gathered to help Eid after he shouted at the attacker, the attacker tried to escape with another person who was waiting for him on a motorcycle. And when they were both surrounded and chased by citizens, they fired a shot in the air in an attempt to scare the crowd, but citizens continued to catch them. So they had to run on foot before a mobile phone -other than Eid’s one- had fallen off while fleeing the scene.

– In the meantime, five people appeared on the scene, one of whom was carrying a radio and claimed to be an intelligence officer. He took the phone from the citizens ordering one of his followers to drive them away on attackers’ motorcycle, alleging that they would be heading to El-Basateen Police Station, and took Eid to a microbus that belongs to them. However, after going away from the crowd, they asked Eid to go to the police station alone and they would follow him and meet him there.

– At El-Basateen Police Station, it turned out that these five people have no relation with the police station and that the whole attack was committed by the security forces or special forces affiliated with another entity or body.

The crime’s results: 

– Gamal Eid has got cracked ribs in his chest, some bruises in his right forearm and left foot, besides his mobile phone has been stolen and his glasses was broken.

Who is behind the crime?

–  Security personnel or special forces are behind the crime, however ANHRI cannot be sure that such police bullying or physical assault on Gamal Eid was carried out in a formal or official way. The crime may also be committed by some “freelance” attackers or bullies as a kind of service or compliment for a corrupt official or a powerful man.

-If this police attack was committed upon an official order, it, despite his brutality, constitutes a common kind of bullying or thuggery perpetrated by all police regimes all over the world, and is not something new.

– If the attack is committed as part of a service or compliment by the security forces- regardless of the entity or the body they are affiliated with, the incident represents a new and serious development; as it has become like that committed by armed gangs or bands, when the security forces use their power to attack citizens physically as part of an informal service or compliment.

– The fact that the attack didn’t exceed 15 minutes and that the crime scene of evidence was completely cleared up later on, not to mention the absence of investigation and the collection of evidence (although the incident took place in one of Al-Maadi’s main streets using a firearm, a car and a motorcycle), and with the presence of surveillance cameras and witnesses, adding that such security entity had ordered a number of security men to find the shot fired in the air,  reflects how serious the weight and influence such criminal security group enjoys.

The reasons behind the crime and the attack from ANHRI’s point of view:

– The physical assault on human rights defenders in the streets constitutes a dangerous move in dealing with human rights defenders, leading to an extent that we wouldn’t have reached without the prevalence of impunity policy, while letting many of security men who violate the law and trample on the constitution day and night go unpunished.

– ANHRI believes that effort exerted by its team of lawyers and researchers, especially recently after the arrests campaign following September 20 protests; including providing legal support to detainees and exposing the violations they have been subjected to, have a clear connection to this crime, and this belief is reinforced by the detention of its lawyer Amr Imam five days ago.

– Of course, we here at ANHRI including its director are not attributed to anything except doing our work of exposing the severe violations of human rights and show non-complicity to these violations and the absence of justice and the rule of law, in addition to repeatedly condemning these violations and criticizing the officials’ stances dealing with them. Although our work doesn’t exceed such condemnation and criticism, the police regimes deem such criticism an infringement that deserves punishment.

ANHRI’s stance

–  Holds the security services fully responsible for this attack, and whether this thuggery is carried out upon  an official order or is part of a service provided to an influential and powerful party, the security service remains responsible.

–  Despite this violent bullying, we will not be silent on wasting the rule of law, or reverse our stance or be involved, whatsoever, in such crimes and violations of human rights. This is not one of our options. Fearing of gangs or bullying has never been a solution, but the solution is to confront, expose and face them.