The Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions (EFACC) filed a lawsuit to the Prosecutor General on 29 April, according to the foundation’s statement on Tuesday.
The lawsuit concerns the Cairo Prosecution’s refusal to grant lawyers authorisation to visit children in detention.
The foundation argued that the refusal to grant lawyers authorisation to visit the children in detention violates Article 80 of the Egyptian Constitution. This stipulates that children “shall be provided with legal assistance and detained in appropriate locations separate from those allocated for the detention of adults”.
The statement adds that Article 53 of Egypt’s lawyer’s code has been violated, since it grants authorised lawyers the right to visit anyone detained in public prisons at any time. It also grants the right to meet with the detained person individually in an appropriate place inside the prison.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) also released a statement in March focusing on the status of children in Egypt, particularly identifying “serious violations by authorities” against minors.
HRW acknowledged that some progress has been made by the government to secure the rights of children. However, it highlighted numerous instances of state violations of the rights of children, namely via the criminal justice system, which is responsible for “arbitrary detention, unfair trials, and physical abuse”.
Another local NGO, the El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, reported in December that an estimated 600 minors were being held in a detention camp in Banha, north of Cairo.
At the time, Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Hany Abdel Latif denied the existence of the facility, saying: “We do not detain minors in prisons. All arrested people under 18 [years-old] are held in juvenile centres in accordance with the law.”
The alleged camp is run by the Central Security Forces, a paramilitary branch of the Egyptian police that is usually responsible for protests, riots, and embassy security.
During the last 18 months, at least 1,000 minors have been detained in Egypt’s prisons according to human rights group Free the Children. The group claims that minors as young as 11 years old are often arrested randomly during clashes between protesters and police.