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Egypt: Flawed investigation into death in custody misses chance for justice




The Egyptian authorities have failed to conduct an independent, effective and transparent investigation into this suspicious death in custody of the economist Ayman Hadhoud, Amnesty International AND Human Rights Watch said today. Prosecutors investigating his death ignored mounting evidence that authorities forcibly disappeared him, tortured and otherwise ill-treated him, and denied him access to timely and adequate health care.

On June 23, 2022, a criminal of Cairo the court rejected it The families are appealing for a re-investigation and a review of vital evidence relating to the circumstances of Hadhud’s death. Hadhoud disappeared on February 5 and died in custody under suspicious circumstances on March 5, but authorities covered up his death until April 9. The Public Prosecutor’s Office closed its investigation on April 18, six days after announcing it. finishing that his death was caused by cardiac arrest and was not unlawful.

“The seriously flawed investigation into the causes and circumstances of Ayman Hadhouds’ death in custody is another stark reminder of Egypt’s crisis of impunity. said Philip Luther, Director of Research and Advocacy in the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. Failure to adequately investigate and hold accountable his suspicious death only emboldens the security forces to continue to violate the prisoners’ right to life without fear of consequences.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International interviewed the Hadhouds family, lawyers and sources at the Cairo Abassiya Psychiatric Hospital, where Hadhoud was held, and reviewed leaked hospital admission records, official correspondence and statements.

The groups found that the Egyptian authorities failed to conduct a full, effective, transparent, independent and impartial investigation into the causes and circumstances of Hadhouds’ death, in accordance with the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party. pair, and UN Minnesota Protocol for potentially wrongful death investigation.

The authorities should immediately invite the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to visit Egypt to investigate cases of torture , ill-treatment and deaths in custody. , including the Hadhuds, the groups said. The authorities must pledge to fully protect investigators and witnesses, victims and activists who cooperate with them and facilitate their work.

Failure to conduct a thorough, effective and transparent investigation

The prosecution’s investigation failed to answer key questions and failed to consider vital evidence, the groups said. Evidence dismissed or left unexamined includes the testimony of two witnesses who noticed injuries to Hadhouds’ face and head in the hospital morgue on April 10, before his autopsy.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reviewed official records discovered by the Abassiya Psychiatric Hospital, where Hadhoud was admitted on February 14, which show that Hadhoud had been referred to an orthopedic specialist the day before. This strongly suggests that Hadhoud either had visible injuries or was complaining of injuries, a source briefed at the hospital told Amnesty International.

Authorities have repeatedly refused to provide a copy of the file and autopsy report to the Hadhouds’ family and attorneys, and have only allowed the attorney to review them briefly without obtaining a copy. Authorities also refused the families’ request to have an independent representative present during his autopsy on April 11 or to release and review CCTV footage of places where Hadhoud may have been arrested and held.

The severely flawed investigation into the causes and circumstances of Ayman Hadhouds’ death in custody is another stark reminder of Egypt’s crisis of impunity.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International

An independent review of the autopsy analysis, raw data and other vital evidence by a committee of forensic experts is needed as part of a larger independent investigation, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said.

Failure to provide critical medical care

The Public Prosecution’s investigation also did not address the authorities’ failure to provide timely and adequate medical care when Hadhouds’ health deteriorated.

Copies of leaked correspondence between the director of the psychiatric hospital, the head of its forensics department and other medical staff, dated April 18, reveal that Hadhud’s health deteriorated severely at 3:30 p.m. on March 5, but he was not immediately transferred to a hospital out equipped to handle it. despite the imminent danger to his life. Documents show that when Hadhouds’ health deteriorated, a new resident physician on duty called in an internal medicine physician, who prescribed medication remotely without examining the patient.

The documents also show that staff at the psychiatric hospital were apparently asked to call and notify an Interior Ministry officer and a hospital administrator of Hadhouds’ condition and wait for an ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late as he died at around 8.30pm.

Involvement of Public Prosecution in abuse

The Public Prosecution’s investigation did not address Hadhouds’ enforced disappearance since February 5, when his family last saw him, including the failure of authorities to provide his family with information about his fate and whereabouts until April 9 or 35 days after his death.

On February 8, one of the Hadhouds brothers was summoned by a police officer and summoned to the Amiriya police station in Cairo. There, National Security Agency (NSA) officers questioned Ayman Hadhouds about his activities and political views and claimed he was in police custody. However, on February 18, the Public Prosecutor’s Office told the family that there was no criminal case against him and denied them any information about his fate and whereabouts.

Concerns about the role of the Public Prosecution Service in the investigation into Hadhouds’ death are reinforced by the well-documented and long-standing patterns of cooperation by the Public Prosecution Service in abuses by the security forces, particularly the NSA. Prosecutors have systematically neglected to investigate allegations of enforced disappearances and torture and have accepted confessions extracted under torture as evidence in trials.

Given the prevailing climate of impunity, it is vital for the international community to support efforts to establish a human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism in Egypt to the Human Rights Council.

The Egyptian authorities have shown again that there is practically no justice for the victims of abuses by the security forces. Judicial and prosecutorial authorities in other countries can help end impunity by investigating and, where appropriate under their national laws, and given available evidence, prosecuting Egyptian security officers implicated in serious abuses, as well as the officials who oversee them, Balkees Jarrah, Interim International Director of Justice said at Human Rights Watch.


Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi effectively came to power in July 2013, dozens of people have died in custody amid credible reports that their deaths resulted from torture and other ill-treatment or from being denied timely and adequate health care. In 2021 alone, at least 52 prisoners died in custody after medical complications and at least four after reports of torture, Amnesty International found. In most cases, prosecutors failed to conduct independent and effective investigations into the causes and circumstances of their deaths.

Torture and other ill-treatment are used especially during the investigation phase and in the initial period of detention to force confessions and punish dissidents. Human Rights Watch and a public inquiry by the UN Committee Against Torture are found in special investigation that torture in Egypt is systematic and widespread.




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