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Egypt court orders minister to reveal missing ex-MP’s location

January 22, 2020

CAIRO: An Egyptian court has ordered the country’s interior minister to reveal the whereabouts of a missing former parliamentarian believed to be in state custody, his wife told AFP on Tuesday.

Mostafa al-Naggar, a former opposition lawmaker and key figure in the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, was reported missing in September 2018. His disappearance for over a year has given rise to accusations that he is in custody, something authorities have previously denied. “We are expecting that they (authorities) will tell us where he is,” Shymaa Afifi, his wife told AFP.

Rights groups maintain enforced disappearances of dissidents is a systematic practice that Egyptian authorities have used to muzzle opposition in recent years. The binding decision from the state council court on Saturday will take effect within the next month, compelling Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik to reveal Naggar’s location, Afifi said.

Local rights group Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom, which has advocated for Naggar’s release, confirmed the decision in a Facebook post. “Every positive step in trying to find out where he is opens up doors of hope for us,” it wrote.

Egypt’s State Information Service previously denied that Naggar was arrested, later claiming he was a “fugitive willingly evading” a three-year sentence for “insulting the judiciary”.

Since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, authorities have cracked down on freedom of expression, jailing thousands of liberal and secular activists as well as Islamists. Authorities insist the measures are necessary to maintain stability and combat terrorism.