On 7 February 2020, human rights defender Patrick George was detained at Cairo airport and taken into custody by the National Security Agency. He was interrogated for several hours, and reported being subjected to physical abuse and torture by electric shocks. On the next day, the Public Prosecutor of Mansoura ordered his detention on remand for 15 days.
Patrick George is a human rights defender and researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). He advocates for women’s rights, as well as the rights of vulnerable groups in Egypt, including the LGBT+ community and the Christian minority. He has also worked on the rights of detainees, and has been involved in several campaigns concerning the violations of civil and political rights in Egypt.
On 7 February 2020, the human rights defender came to Egypt for the first time since commencing his university studies in Italy in August 2019. He was stopped at Cairo airport upon his arrival. He was then taken into custody by the National Security Investigation and his whereabouts remained unknown for 24 hours. It was later revealed that he had been transferred from the airport to a national security facility in Cairo. Patrick George was then interrogated for several hours without the presence of his lawyer. During the interrogation, the human rights defender was subjected to physical abuse and was tortured by electric shocks. On the next day, he was presented before the public prosecutor of Mansoura who ordered his detention on remand for 15 days, pending further investigation. The police issued a statement stating that the detention of Patrick George is based on an arrest warrant issued against him in September 2019.
The human rights defender is facing the charges of ‘spreading false news’, ‘incitement to protest without authorisation’, ‘incitement to violence and terrorism; and ‘calling for the overthrow of the state’. Since his detention, no family visits have been allowed, and he has had very limited access to legal counsel. He is currently detained at Mansoura police station.
Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the detention of Patrick George, the charges brought against him, as well as the allegations of torture during his interrogation. Front Line Defenders believes that he is being targeted solely as a result of his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.