On 26 September 2016, Dr. Hani Hodaib, member of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate and Doctors Without Rights, delivered an oral intervention on behalf of Defenders for Medical Impartiality (DMI) at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva under item 8: Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Mr. Vice President,
Alsalam foundation, together with Defenders for Medical Impartiality strongly condemns the Egyptian authorities’ failure to uphold protections of health professionals as guaranteed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
On August 17, 2013, Egyptian security forces arrested Dr. Ibrahim El-Yamani who volunteered to offer a safe passage to unarmed demonstrators trapped inside al-Fath mosque near Cairo. El-Yamani was detained in El-Azbakia police station for two days before he was transferred to Natroon prison in North of Cairo. To protest his unlawful detention, Dr. El-Yamani went on two hunger strikes: the first lasted for 89 days, and the second lasted for more than 150 days. In response, security officers beat and placed him in solitary confinement. Dr. El-Yamani is still detained without trial till this date, in violation of articles 142 and 143 of the Egyptian Criminal Procedure Code.
It is worth noting that Dr. El-Yamani’s case is one of more than three hundred cases of unlawful detention of doctors during the period of civil unrest in Egypt in 2013 alone. According to Doctors’ Union Freedom and Rights Committee, 319 doctors were arrested between June 30 and October 6, 2013. Many of those were not politically affiliated or participating in street demonstrations. Most of these detainees suffered abuse, poor imprisonment conditions and exceeded their pre-trial detention limits. This is according to reports released by Dr. Taher Mokhtar, the chairman of freedom and rights committee of Doctors union. Ironically, Dr. Taher Mokhtar himself was arrested for publishing these reports.
We call on the Egyptian government to release all arbitrarily detained doctors, and effectively uphold the tenets of the VDPA in national legislation and in practice.