An Egyptian journalist appeared before prosecutors after briefly going missing following his arrest two days ago, while the Interior Ministry released a statement dismissing accusations that it subjects individuals to forced disappearances.
Mahmoud al-Saqqa Hosni, a reporter for independent website yanair.net, reappeared on Saturday before the State Security Prosecution, facing charges of affiliation with an outlawed organization, a charge commonly filed against many individuals reported missing by activists.Individuals who were arrested under the pretext of forced disapperances either appear unannounced before prosecutors or remain in detention at undisclosed locations.
The Journalists’ Syndicate filed a complaint with the General Prosecution on Saturday, demanding that Saqqa’s whereabouts be made public and accusing the ministry of endangering his life.
Rights activists have decried a wave of what they described as forced disappearances of journalists and activists over the past year, deeming the alleged practice a violation of freedoms and constitutional rights.
While the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) acknowledges the trend and has recently sent a list of 101 missing people to the Interior Ministry, the latter, after frequent denials, dismissed accusations of adopting forced disappearance as a means of arrest.
Speaking to CBC channel late Saturday, Assistant Interior Minister for Public Affairs and Media Abu Bakr Avdel Karim said 83 of those listed by the NCHR were detained pending investigation and trial.“That means they were not kidnapped, and the Interior Ministry has no interest in denying it has detained someone,” said Abdel Karim. “We have informed the council of what we already know.”
Statistics on victims of the alleged practice vary. Compared to the NCHR’s list of some 100 victims, Stop Forced Disappearances, a campaign launched in August 2015 by the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, says the number could have stood at as high as 340 as of November.