Life in danger: Moaz Al-Sharqawy has been forcibly disappeared for 22 days; deep concerns about his safety

Date : Thursday, 1 June, 2023

1 June 2023


The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemns the continued enforced disappearance of the former deputy head of the Tanta University Students’ Union, Moaz Al-Sharqawy.

Sharqawy has been forcibly disappeared by the Egyptian security services for 22 days, where his whereabouts have not been disclosed and his family and lawyers have not been allowed to communicate with him, which means that his life is in danger.

AFTE calls on the authorities to reveal Sharqawy’s fate immediately, enabling his lawyers and family to know his whereabouts and communicate with him. The continued lack of information about Sharqawy raises concerns about his safety and fears that he could have been exposed to torture or any form of physical assault, which are crimes the security services used to commit in forced disappearance cases over the past decade.

AFTE considers the Public Prosecution’s neglect of the requests submitted by Sharqawy’s family and lawyers demanding the disclosure of his whereabouts and investigation into his enforced disappearance as direct complicity with the security services regarding Sharqawy’s disappearance.

AFTE calls on the general coordinator of the national dialogue, Diaa Rashwan, to help find out Sharqawy’s whereabouts, as the national dialogue sessions tackle urgent human rights issues, including respect for the rule of law and stopping the security practices that violate the constitution and law.

Sharqawy was arrested from his home in the Mokattam neighbourhood in Cairo on 11 May. His lawyers inquired about his whereabouts at the Prisons Authority, which said that he was not held in any of its prisons across the country. The lawyers also made sure that he was not held at the Mokattam police station. Sharqawy has not appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution in the Fifth Settlement or the Mokattam Prosecution in Zeinhum for the last three weeks, and neither the Interior Ministry nor the Public Prosecution has issued any confirmation of his arrest or place of detention.

Sharqawy had earlier been subjected to prolonged detention over his previous activity as a Tanta University Students’ Union leader. He was arrested in September 2018 and forcibly disappeared for about 25 days, during which he was subjected to physical and psychological torture. Then, he was interrogated in Case No. 440 of 2018, in which he was held in pretrial detention for about a year and a half before he was released in 2020.

In May 2022, the Emergency State Security Criminal Court issued a 10-year rigorous prison sentence against Sharqawy. However, the sentence – according to the law – is not final or enforceable, as it has not yet been ratified. Sharqawy’s lawyers submitted a grievance to the military ruler, and it is still under consideration.

Sharqawy has been repeatedly targeted for several years over his support for the rights of university students to express their opinions and obtain all their rights. He was elected deputy head of the Tanta University Students’ Union in 2015, and that was the only activity he practiced.

AFTE reiterates its call to disclose Sharqawy’s whereabouts and stop all security and judicial measures against him. It holds the Ministry of Interior responsible for his safety, as his life becomes more endangered as long as he is still subjected to enforced disappearance.

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