Azbakiya prosecution concluded on Friday hearing statements of lawyers Taher Abu El-Nasr and Maha Youssef regarding the shutdown of El-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, local media reported.
On Thursday, police forces stormed the centre, shutting it down. Investigations on the centre’s shutdown are ongoing.
Multiple local and international NGOs expressed solidarity with El-Nadeem. Amnesty International condemned the shutdown in a statement on Friday and saw it as an ”attack on human-rights defenders in Egypt.”
The prosecution questioned the lawyers about their complaints regarding Azbakiya police station’s rejection of documenting a police report about the centre’s shutting down.
El-Nadeem released a statement following the shutdown, explaining that the police station rejected to document the closure in accordance with the lawyers’ request; therefore, they referred the case to the prosecution.
Youssef explained that the sealing of three apartments, belonging to El-Nadeem, by police forces came as a surprise, despite the fact that an official order was issued to only do so for the clinic.
The Ministry of Health and Reproduction previously in February 2016 released a statement to clarify closure attempts against El-Nadeem, saying that the centre changed the nature of it, from being a clinic treating psychological and nervous problems as registered in 2003 to being a rehabilitation centre for victims of torture, without informing the ministry. This led to the closure of the centre.
The statement explained that El-Nadeem has committed two violations; first by changing its activity without asking the ministry to modify its license, which is a legal violation according to Article 13 from Law no. 153, issued in 2004; it also changed its name from clinic to centre, which also requires a change in the nature of license. The ministry has issued several warnings to El-Nadeem prior to the closure attempts.
El-Nadeem previously responded to the ministry, saying that the closure came due to their reports documenting torture. In a previous press conference the centre heads stated that they were informed by officials from the health ministry that the closure was due to political reasons.
There have been previous attempts to shut down the centre in February and April 2016. Despite these closure attempts, El-Nadeem continued releasing monthly reports about alleged violations carried out by the Ministry of Interior against prisoners, while also documenting enforced disappearance cases.