The Egyptian Network for Human Rights (ENHR) said last week that Egyptian authorities held the body of a prisoner for six years without telling his family he had died.
Mohamed Jumaa Youssef Afifi, 52, died at the National Security Headquarters in Cairo in December 2015 after he was tortured so badly he had a heart attack.
Rather than admitting that he had been killed, prison authorities continued to claim that Mohamed was alive and failed to inform his family even though they filed several lawsuits to find out where he was.
Mohamed actually died less than a month after being arrested.
The Egyptian authorities have a long record of forcibly disappearing and torturing people who criticise the government or anyone they perceive to be political opponents.
Even children are forcibly disappeared and tortured in custody.
There are no exact figures on the number of people who have been forcibly disappeared in Egypt due to the clandestine nature of the crime.
In 2020 The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms estimated that at least 2,723 people had been forcibly disappeared by Egyptian security forces since 2015.
The practice, which leaves prisoners’ families in agony as they are unsure of the fate of their loved ones, is becoming increasingly common.
In December last year the ENHR documented the enforced disappearance of Kefaya member Dr Ahmed Amasha who co-founded the League for the Families of the Disappeared, which provides legal support to families of the forcibly disappeared.
Having previously been arrested in 2019, Amasha then appealed against being released for fear of what would happen to him if he was rearrested and forcibly disappeared again.
When prisoners are held incommunicado, they are frequently tortured and many are killed or live in fear of being killed because they are outside the protection of the law.
Families also suffer with no closure to the fate of their loved ones and it is used as a tactic by dictatorships to spread terror in society.