A Witness to Nothing: How Seif Bedour Grew to become Entangled within the Fairmont Case
“This begging factor could be very tough for all of us, as I’m certain it’s for you, however what are we going to do? We’d like every and everybody of you to really feel and sympathize.
“We’d like individuals to face in solidarity with Seif as a result of you’ve gotten all, sadly, change into dead-alive. I by no means understood that time period, however I completely get it now. I see it and I really feel it. Everybody is really useless, however why shouldn’t we be? When all the pieces round us has died?” Nivan Bedour implored her pals and followers in a Fb put up dated December eighth, three months after her brother Seif’s arrest.
Nivan is one in every of many supplicants who’ve taken to Egyptian social media in recent times to marketing campaign for the discharge of a beloved one. And but Seif’s case is especially alarming. Arrested in August 2020, he has been jailed for over 4 months with out cost. In accordance with his household, the 21-year-old was accompanying a buddy to the Qasr El-Nil police station when authorities determined to detain him.
It began when an Egyptian-American buddy of Seif’s was escorted to the precinct by a police officer in relation to the investigation into the 2014 gang rape case, generally referred to as the ‘Farimont Incident’ and the ‘Fairmont Crime’ (جريمة الفيرمونت), by which she is an individual of curiosity and potential witness. She was amongst a lot of different potential witnesses who had been arrested on the twenty eighth of August, 2020 and launched just a few days later, on the thirty first of August.
Seif, nevertheless, is one in every of three individuals who remained in police custody pending investigations into the Fairmont Crime regardless of having been simply 14-years-old when the incident came about and having nothing to contribute to the prosecution’s case, based on his household.
“Nobody needed him. On the police station, she stored telling him to go dwelling and he would say, ‘no we’ll wait collectively.’ He waited along with her for six hours. They didn’t even take his ID or something, he was simply sitting there ready for her, and all of a sudden two individuals got here as much as them and advised them somebody desires to talk with you,” Nivan, Seif’s older sister, advised Egyptian Streets.
In accordance with a report by Human Rights Watch, these arrested in connection to the Fairmont investigation had been interrogated by members of the Inside Ministry’s Nationwide Safety Company. “[They] arrested after which pressured the witnesses to change their accounts whereas holding them incommunicado from August 28 to 31, three activists stated after talking with the witnesses who had been launched,” the group experiences.
Sources near Seif have additionally confirmed these allegations of misconduct in his case, saying Seif was pressured to make false confessions.
“In accordance with a sworn testimony by Seif, which he gave earlier than a decide – and that was mirrored within the data – an officer advised him to both confess to being homosexual or he will probably be implicated within the Fairmont case,” a authorized consultant for Seif advised Egyptian Streets.
Dealing with unfounded and debunked accusations of ‘immorality’ and ‘sodomy’ – that are the authorized phrases for same-sex conduct in Egyptian regulation – in addition to allegations of drug use, Seif was subjected to a pressured anal examination, which is taken into account a type of torture underneath worldwide regulation, and required to submit a drug check.
“The decide confirmed us the report about performing gay acts and knowledgeable us that the check got here again adverse. He additionally stated that there was a small share in Seif’s report about drug use,” Seif’s legal professional advised Egyptian Streets.
Regardless of being cleared of any suspicions of homosexuality (which can have raised allegations of criminality underneath Egyptian regulation), Seif continues to be jailed, which his legal professionals argue is a blatant disregard of the nation’s legal guidelines.
“This drug use cost doesn’t entail pre-trial detention, and that’s the solely clear cost in opposition to Seif, he smokes and he advised them he drinks alcohol, he doesn’t use narcotics. He volunteered that data, however even when they discovered traces of narcotics, drug use fees don’t require pre-trial detention,” Seif’s legal professional remarked, including that frequent painkiller and sedative use might simply result in false optimistic leads to a drug check.
Nonetheless, Seif’s protection crew was denied the best to problem the toxicology report, which additional proves animus and a rush to judgement on the a part of the prosecution, based on Seif’s legal professional.
“Drug use fees based mostly on bodily proof are completely different from drug use fees based mostly on suspicion. He wasn’t caught with a joint or an unlawful substance, as an illustration … That’s the situation that must be met in Egyptian regulation for there to be a cost. In Seif’s case, there was a suspicion that then led to the lab assessments,” the supply defined.
Much more troubling is the absence of a whole case file, a grievance that Seif’s household and protection crew have repeatedly raised. In accordance with one in every of Seif’s attorneys, the protection crew nonetheless hasn’t been permitted to view the information that justify Seif’s detention.
“Nobody was caught doing something, there’s no official report in opposition to Seif to say that it’s simply being processed, and we don’t have investigations that show that he performs identical intercourse acts or something like that. There isn’t even an arrest warrant for him. These are paperwork that should be within the case file for it to be an precise investigation.
“There must be a police report, an arrest warrant, investigations that both show or disprove the [accusations], equivalent to lab assessments and forensic exams. None of this exists. And what does exist proves his innocence. So why is Seif jailed? the place is the logic in that?” stated the legal professional to Egyptian Streets.
Many observers have additionally famous this whole disregard of procedural regulation and constitutionally-protected civil rights, which is obvious within the haste to arrest Seif based mostly on suspicions about his sexual orientation. In accordance with sources, Seif’s cellphone was unlawfully confiscated, admitting into proof illegally obtained private and intimate visible content material in violation of his constitutionally-protected proper to privateness.
His lawyer additionally argues that the mere suspicion of being homosexual isn’t sufficient to warrant an arrest. “They simply suspected him based mostly on his look—he has a ponytail and is carrying shorts and appears westernized as a result of he simply received again from Hungary—and that’s understood by some individuals in Egypt as a boy who lacks rugged masculinity, so he should be homosexual,” the legal professional defined to Egyptian Streets.
Within the meantime, Seif resumes his captivity alongside two witnesses and among the suspects within the Fairmont Crime – an investigation that doesn’t look like shifting ahead – regardless of assurances from authorized advisor and prosecutor Ahmed Sobeih to Seif’s household and authorized crew that his detention is a separate matter from the gang rape case.
“How are we separated from the Fairmont case, but additionally on the identical time concerned within the accusations? When our case carries the identical quantity?” a member of the protection remarked.
As Seif nears his a hundred and thirtieth day in jail, his household continues to marketing campaign for his freedom on social media utilizing the #Free_Seif (#افرجوا_عن_سيف) hashtags to drum up sympathy for his case, however with an unprecedented crackdown, a whole lot of reported forcible disappearance circumstances and arbitrary arrests, Egypt’s cybersphere has change into an infinite feed of lacking individuals and misplaced connections bulletins and compassion is rapidly waning.
For the media research graduate, nevertheless, life has come to a standstill. In a message handed down by his mom, Seif describes a depressing outlook.
“My life has stopped, I not know the place my future is. I’ve misplaced all hope, I’ve misplaced my religion, I’ve misplaced my thoughts. I’ve forgotten what it feels wish to really feel protected, to really feel pleasure. What even is feeling? On a regular basis, I ask myself, ‘why am I alive?’” he writes, earlier than including, “I really feel like I’m shedding my thoughts each time I believe that anybody can get simply arrested out of nowhere and be charged with false accusations, simply because they accompanied a buddy he couldn’t depart alone! How might I depart her after I was raised to by no means depart a buddy in want, boy or woman, and never provide the least I can do, which is to be by their aspect?
“If I might do it over again, I wouldn’t change a factor.”
Subscribe to our publication