Sadiq Khan, solicitor | 10.10.2002 06:33
6 months since the detention of British men _-_in Egypt
Today marks 6 months since the day Egyptian State Security officials brutally arrested and tortured many people. Among those arrested were four British men. Maajid Nawaz, Reza Pankhurst, Ian Nisbet and Hassan Rizvi were arrested by Egyptian state security in the early hours of 1st April 2002. The trial for three of the British men and 23 Egyptian Nationals commences on the 20th October 2002. With only a few weeks leading up to the trial of the three British citizens still remaining in pre-trial detention (Maajid Nawaz, Ian Nisbet and Reza Pankhurst), there is growing concern amongst family and friends that they will not get a fair trial.
Rabia Nawaz, wife of Maajid Nawaz has said "Now that the Lawyer has received the case files two whole months after the men were charged with only three weeks left to prepare the defense of our men, it has become apparent that the charges are more ridiculous than one could have imagined."
Hodan Pankhurst, wife of Reza Pankhurst has said "You only have to read the charges to see how ludicrous they are- charging an IT professional with owning a computer! The Egyptian government is clearly scared of its own shadow. If our husbands who happen to be British citizens can be treated this way I shudder to think of how they (Egyptian Authorities) are torturing the Egyptians whom they wrongfully arrest. It is well documented that women and even children are detained and tortured routinely.
Humera Nisbet, wife of Ian Nisbet has said " The charges contain no mention of violence, in essence the charges state that it is a crime to carry a political view different to that of the ruling regime. These charges are
truly absurd! this is certainly no basis for arrest and certainly doesn’t justify torture! They joined this group In the Uk and were involved in UK, where this group is perfectly legal, but they have denied any involvement in
Hassan Rizvi, was released after 4 and half months of detention without charges. He returned to the UK on the 13th August 2002 and has said " We were taken to underground torture dungeons and we were beaten, threatened
and electrocuted. We were then forced to sign papers written in Arabic while facing this torture. We asked for the British Consulate, Lawyers and for translated papers but these were all denied. I really fear for the fate of
the others especially the Egyptians who have no Consulate or families whose voices can be heard."
Sadiq Khan ( partner at Christian Fischer Khan solicitors and solicitor for the families) said " The Egyptian Government has arrested four innocent British men for no good reason in an effort to be seen to be tough on terrorism. It is now clear that even the Egyptians accept that non of the four have been involved in any acts of terror . There can be no justification for treating them in the inhumane manner they have.
Amnesty International has been closely involved in this case and has been documenting human right abuses carried out by the Egyptian regime for years. This week Amnesty are in Egypt seeking a meeting with the three men as well as others unlawfully imprisoned there.
Humera Nisbet said “It has been six months since the men reported that they had been tortured and forced to sign papers in a language that they did not understand. How are our lawyers to prepare the defence of these men if the
investigations are not yet complete and there has been no access to independent medical examinations. Surely these reports would prove conclusively that the men had been tortured and the so called “confessions” that they were forced to sign were extracted under duress. What have the
Egyptian authorities got to hide in denying the men these basic rights?"
Rabia Nawaz has said " The Egyptian Government is very oppressive towards any political opposition and torture of these political prisoners is not an exception but the norm. Their plight is truly disturbing to say the least. The Egyptian state security is well known for its brutality and torture and our husbands did not escape their wrath. They have been treating their own citizens like this for decades"
Hodan Pankhurst has said, “One of the Prosecutors, Amr Farouk, interrogating our husbands said on one occasion to his State Security officials, “Have you made sure you have tortured these men? Did you beat them up? Did you electrocute them?” When they replied in the affirmative, he
laughed. This is how corruption is entrenched in their legal system. Can we in all honesty then expect a fair trial when everything they (Egyptian Authorities) has been doing up until now is anything BUT fair?”
Sadiq Khan said" It is now time for the prime minister to make direct representations to president Hosni mubarak of Egypt. Enough is enough. I am concerned that these men will not receive a fair trial.”
Christian Fischer Khan Solicitors
020 7831 1750
Families can be contacted at:
The charges (extracted from the Indictment filed against the men) are:
1) Promoting by speech and writing the goals of a group founded in violation of the provision of the law, which is called Hizb Ut Tahrir, and which calls for dispensing with the constitution and laws preventing state institutions
from performing their work and by promoting amongst themselves and others the groups call for considering the ruling regime as oppressive and rising against it with a view to establishing a state based upon Islamic teachings
2) Possessing printed literature which promoted Hizb ut Tahrir's message, distributing this literature and showing it to others
3) Possessing a printing instrument i.e. a computer which they used for propagating Hizb ut Tahrir's message.
On the 25th July, Baroness Amos wrote a letter to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, requesting for immediate investigations into the reports of torture by these British men. There has still been no response
to date. Maajid Nawaz, Reza Pankhurst, Ian Nisbet and Hassan Rizvi have all reported that they have been tortured by the Egyptian state security in underground dungeons in Nasr City, Cairo. During this torture and interrogations so-called confessions were fabricated and they were made to
sign papers in a language they did not understand.
The British Ambassador, John Sawyers, met with the Egyptian Prosecutor General, Maher Abdul Waheed on Wednesday 19th September 2002 and he again reminded the Egyptians that they had been asked to investigate the reports of torture by these men. He also reminded them that access to independent medical doctors has still not been granted. A follow up letter urging the Prosecutor general to convey the results of these investigations and access to independent medical doctors to be granted immediately was sent by The British Ambassador a week after this meeting was held and there has still been no response.
Sadiq Khan, solicitor