[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [press release] Wednesday that Egyptian officials have ordered for the closure of a torture rehabilitation center that had been a refuge to victims of human rights violations. Early on Wednesday, Egyptian police officers entered the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence [advocacy website] with a closure order approved by the health ministry. Since its inception in 1993, the El Nadeem Center has provided torture victims counseling services and legal assistance. Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program, said, “[t]his looks to us like a barefaced attempt to shut down an organization which has been a bastion for human rights and a thorn in the side of the authorities for more than 20 years.” AI believes that the El Nadeem Center should be allowed a day in court to challenge the order.
Of particular concern with Egypt’s constitutional and human rights is the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists by the Egyptian government, which has garnered widespread criticism from governments and rights groups worldwide. Last month 13 non-governmental organizations issued a joint statement [JURIST report] to the Egyptian parliament giving recommendations to ensure the enforcement of constitutional and human rights. Last year Egyptian lawyer Nasser Amin challenged a law [JURIST report] that allows writers to be jailed for writings that violate Egyptian “morals.” In August Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi approved [JURIST report] a 54-article counter-terrorism law that has been met with significant controversy, as many believe it infringes on the freedom of the press. Many have said that the law defines terrorism too broadly and imposes harsh sentences and fines on violators. Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] the law saying it infringes on freedom of the press.