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Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

CONTENTS

1. Introduction 1.1 1.4

2. Country assessment

Actors of protection

Internal relocation

Country guidance caselaw

2.1

2.2

2.3

2.4

 

3. Main categories of claims

Christians/Christian Converts

Political Opposition Activists

Prison Conditions

3.1 – 3.8

3.9

3.10

3.11

4. Minors claiming in their own right

Minors claiming in their own right

4.1 4.3

5.
Medical Treatment 5.1 – 5.5

6. Returns 6.1 6.5

1. Introduction

1.1 This document provides Home Office case workers with guidance on the nature and

This document provides Home Office case workers with guidance on the nature and

handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of

Egypt including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum,

Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. Case workers must refer to the

relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas.

1.2 Case workers must not base decisions on the country of origin information in this

Case workers must not base decisions on the country of origin information in this

guidance; it is included to provide context only and does not purport to be

comprehensive. The conclusions in this guidance are based on the totality of the

available evidence, not just the brief extracts contained herein, and case workers

must likewise take into account all available evidence. It is therefore essential that

this guidance is read in conjunction with the relevant COI Service country of origin

information and any other relevant information.

COI Service information is published on Horizon and on the internet at:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/guidance/coi/

1.3 Claims should be considered on an individual basis, but taking full account of the

Claims should be considered on an individual basis, but taking full account of the

guidance contained in this document. Where a claim for asylum or Humanitarian

Protection is being considered, case workers must consider any elements of Article

8 of the ECHR in line with the provisions of Appendix FM (Family Life), and

OPERATIONAL GUIDANCE NOTE

EGYPT

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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paragraphs 276 ADE to 276DH (Private Life) of the Immigration Rules. Where a

person is being considered for deportation, case workers must consider any

elements of Article 8 of the ECHR in line with the provisions of Part 13 of the

Immigration Rules. Case workers must also consider if the applicant qualifies for

Discretionary Leave in accordance with the published policy.

1.4 If, following consideration, a claim is to be refused, case workers should consider

If, following consideration, a claim is to be refused, case workers should consider

whether it can be certified as clearly unfounded under the case by case certification

power in section 94(2) of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. A claim

will be clearly unfounded if it is so clearly without substance that it is bound to fail.

2. Country assessment

2.1 An overview of the human rights situation in certain countries can also be found in

An overview of the human rights situation in certain countries can also be found in

the FCO Annual Report on Human Rights which examines developments in

countries where human rights issues are of greatest concern:

http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/read-and-download-the-report/

2.2 Actors of protection

2.2.1
Case workers must refer to section 7 of the Asylum Instruction - Considering the

asylum claim and assessing credibility. To qualify for asylum, an individual must

To qualify for asylum, an individual must

have a fear of persecution for a Convention reason and be able to demonstrate that

their fear of persecution is well founded and that they are unable, or unwilling

because of their fear, to seek protection in their country of origin or habitual

residence. Case workers must take into account whether or not the applicant has

sought the protection of the authorities or the organisation controlling all or a

substantial part of the State, any outcome of doing so or the reason for not doing so.

Effective protection is generally provided when the authorities (or other organisation

controlling all or a substantial part of the State) take reasonable steps to prevent the

persecution or suffering of serious harm by for example operating an effective legal

system for the detection, prosecution and punishment of acts constituting

persecution or serious harm, and the applicant has access to such protection.

2.2.2 The ex-president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, stepped down from office on 11

The ex-president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, stepped down from office on 11

February 2011, following huge anti-government demonstrations that began in

January 2011.1 He transferred executive authority to the Supreme Council of the

Armed Forces (SCAF), a transitional authority of senior military officers that ruled by

decree. Their executive responsibilities were carried out by a civilian Cabinet of

Ministers. Mubarak was arrested together with his sons and other ministers,

sentenced to life imprisonment over deaths of protestors, corruption and other

charges.2 Legislative and parliamentary elections began on 28 November 2011,

and were scheduled to end in February 2012.3 The chairman of the Freedom and

1 BBC News: Country profiles: Egypt 15 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13313370

2 BBC News: Country Profiles – Egypt 15 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13315719

3US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Egypt, 24 May 2012,

Executive Summary:

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186423

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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Justice Party (part of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood) Mohammed Morsi won the

presidential election in 2012; he took office on 30 June 2012. Two weeks before

that, SCAF had issued an interim constitutional declaration amending the 30 March

2011 declaration promulgated following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. It restored

all legislative powers to SCAF until fresh elections were held for the dissolved lower

house of parliament, the People‟s Assembly.4

2.2.3 Following his inauguration, Mr Morsi revoked this interim declaration, and

Following his inauguration, Mr Morsi revoked this interim declaration, and

transferred all the powers assumed by the generals to the presidency, including

absolute legislative authority.5 In August 2012, the head of the armed forces,

Hussein Tantawi, was dismissed, together with his chief of staff, Sami Anan; they

had previously been appointed as advisors to Morsi. The man chosen to replace

Tantawi is the previous head of military intelligence, Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, one of the

generals who defended the use of “virginity tests” against female protesters in

March 2011.6 In November 2012, Mr Morsi signed a decree stating that the

president‟s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority, including the judiciary.

This was seen as a move aimed at stopping the constitutional court from dissolving

the assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution. Soon after, the Islamistdominated

body voted to approve the final draft of the new constitution in a session

boycotted by most liberals and Christians, and Mr Morsi quickly announced that a

referendum would be held on 15 December 2012. All of these actions angered

secularists and liberals, who accused Mr Morsi and the Islamists of trying to rush

through a constitution that they believe curtails freedom and leans towards

Islamism. They called mass protests, which quickly became violent. 7

2.2.4 President Morsi subsequently rescinded the decree awarding him new powers, but

President Morsi subsequently rescinded the decree awarding him new powers, but

refused to back down on the constitution, which was duly approved at the

referendum.8 It has been criticised by opponents of Mr Morsi as a highly

problematic document written by an unrepresentative and overwhelmingly Islamist

constituent assembly. Although it has been approved by 64% of the (only) 33% of

eligible voters who actually turned out, its passage has failed to quell deep mistrust

and tensions between liberal and Islamist political factions.9

2.2.5 In January 2013, President Morsi declared a state of emergency and curfews in the

In January 2013, President Morsi declared a state of emergency and curfews in the

cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia following outbreaks of violence and rioting that

resulted in the deaths of dozens of citizens over four days. The violence happened

in the wake of death sentences handed down to 21 supporters of a local football

club, al-Masry, for their role in the country‟s worst ever football violence, almost a

year previously. After being criticised for his relative silence, he stated that he

would do much more for the sake of Egypt. Since President Morsi took office, critics

claim that he has failed to hold former officials to account for their alleged crimes, or

to carry out much-needed reforms, particularly to the interior ministry, and that there

4 BBC News: Egypt – „Who holds the power? 10 December 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18779934

5 BBC News: Egypt – „Who holds the power? 10 December 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18779934

6 The Guardian: „Egypt defence chief Tantawi ousted in surprise shakeup‟ 13 August 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/12/egyptian-defence-chief-ousted-shakeup

7 BBC News: Egypt – Egypt Profile – Leaders 15 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13313372

8 BBC News: Egypt – Egypt Profile – Leaders 15 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13313372

9 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – Egypt – 2013, January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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is an increasing security vacuum.10 In February 2013, President Morsi called for

early parliamentary elections, to start in late April and to be held over four stages

ending in June. He was obliged under the constitution to set the date for the vote by

Saturday 25 February 2013. However, one of Egypt‟s key opposition leaders,

Mohamed El Baraidei, said the elections would be “a recipe for disaster” given the

growing polarisation of the country, and the eroding authority of the state. He called

for a boycott of the vote, which he said would call into question the validity of the

vote. The incidence of street protests, strikes, crime and violent clashes between

protesters and the security services is increasing; President Morsi has so far been

unable to curb the unrest which is further fuelled by the steady deterioration of the

Egyptian economy.11

2.2.6 Violent assaults against women, including serious sexual assault and rape, have

Violent assaults against women, including serious sexual assault and rape, have

surged in the vicinity of Tahrir Square in Cairo in recent months, reaching a peak in

January 2013, during protests commemorating the second anniversary of the start

of the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. The attacks have been carried out

by groups of men, some lasting over an hour. Members of the Human Rights

Committee of the Shura Council, Egypt‟s upper house of Parliament made

comments blaming the women protestors for these attacks. They asserted that the

women had brought the attacks on themselves by attending the protests; that they

bore responsibility for the attacks; and that women should not mingle with men

during demonstrations. Only days before these remarks, similar statements were

made by the owner of the Al-Ummah television station, Ahmad Mohamed Abdullah.

He stated publicly that women protestors had gone to Tahrir Square because they

wanted to be raped, and that such women were „devils‟. Amnesty International and

other NGO groups have expressed concern that such discriminatory attitudes cast

doubt on the authority‟s stated determination to eliminate sexual violence.12

2.2.7 The new Egyptian constitution has now passed into law, but opposition groups still

The new Egyptian constitution has now passed into law, but opposition groups still

oppose it, noting its disregard for civil liberties, and personal and religious

freedoms.13 Both the new, and the old constitution of 1971, designate Islam as

Egypt‟s official religion and Islamic law (Sharia) as the main source of legislation.

They both obligate the state to „preserve‟ traditional family values based on Islam.

However, the 2012 charter defines the principles of Sharia for the first time. It says

those principles include “evidence, rules, jurisprudence and sources” accepted by

Sunni Islam. The new constitution also gives unprecedented powers to Al-Azhar,

Sunni Islam‟s most respected religious school, saying its scholars must be

consulted on all matters relating to Sharia. The earlier constitution made no

mention of Al-Azhar.14

2.2.8 The new constitution contains an unprecedented ban on “insults” towards the

The new constitution contains an unprecedented ban on “insults” towards the

prophets of Islam. It also says that followers of the „divine/monotheist‟ religions, i.e.

Christianity, Judaism and Islam have the right to perform religious rituals and

10 BBC News: Egypt: „Egypt violence tests Mohammed Morsi‟ 28 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21226289

11 CBC News: „Egypt‟s Morsi calls early elections amid rising unrest‟ 24 February 2013

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/24/wrd-egypt-election-protests-morsi.html?cmp=rss

12 Amnesty International: Egypt: „Egypt law-makers blame women victims for sexual violence‟13 February

2013 http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/010/2013/en/30df5a52-f297-420f-842e-

1bcfcdafcebd/mde120102013en.pdf

13 Muftah: New Egyptian Constitution passed: December 27 2012

http://muftah.org/egyptian-referendum-passed-63-8-vote-yes-36-2-vote-no

14 Muftah: New Egyptian Constitution passed: December 27 2012

http://muftah.org/egyptian-referendum-passed-63-8-vote-yes-36-2-vote-no

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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establish places of worship “as regulated by law”. The previous constitution made

no mention of the rights of any religions other than Islam. The recognition of these

rights in practice is not apparent, particularly in the context of conversion from Islam

to Christianity, which is viewed as an insult to Islam. The new constitution also

significantly enhances the authority of the Egyptian armed forces.15 It states that the

president must choose a defence minister from among the military‟s top officers.

Senior officers also gain the authority to put civilians on trial in military courts, but

only in cases where the alleged crimes “damage the armed forces”. The new

document creates a new National Security Council with a balance of senior officers

and civilian Cabinet ministers; the Council is given the task of adopting strategies for

establishing security, identifying security threats, and taking actions to address

them.16

2.2.9 The country‟s transition to democracy continues to be beset by political turmoil, as

The country‟s transition to democracy continues to be beset by political turmoil, as

well as the breakdown of law and order and established social norms. This

breakdown has had the largest effect on society‟s most vulnerable elements,

including women and minorities, who are often the target of violent attacks. The

most significant human rights problems during the year (2012) were: a) threats to

women‟s rights, with an increasingly challenging environment in which women faced

assaults and sexual harassment and often were unable to assemble peacefully

without male protection; b) failure to prosecute perpetrators of violence against

religious minorities and in some cases to protect minorities from violence; and c)

threats to freedom of speech, press and association, as security forces assaulted,

abused and arrested journalists who sought to cover clashes between the military

and protesters while the SCAF was in power.17

2.2.10 The constitution provides for the independence and immunity of judges, and forbids

The constitution provides for the independence and immunity of judges, and forbids

interference by other authorities in the exercise of their judicial functions. During

2012, the courts exhibited greater autonomy and freedom from executive influence

by declaring illegal or unconstitutional some of the decrees issued by the SCAF and

President Morsi. In 2012, the government generally respected court orders in nonpolitical

cases. In all three court systems, defendants are legally presumed

innocent. There are no juries, but civilian criminal trials are usually conducted in

public. Military and state security courts are not open to the public. 18

2.2.11 The law allows defendants to question witnesses against them, and to present

The law allows defendants to question witnesses against them, and to present

witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. In civilian and military courts,

defendants have the right of appeal up to the Court of Cassation; state security

courts do not allow appeals. The president and the grand mufti must confirm all

death sentences. In February 2012 a civilian court acquitted and released

demonstrator Amr al-Beheiry after a retrial. In March 2011, a military court had

sentenced him to five years in prison following a trial that lasted less than five

minutes.19

15 Voice of America: „Egypt‟s new constitution: How it differs from old version: 25 December 2013

http://www.voanews.com/content/egypt-constitution/1572169.html

16 Voice of America: „Egypt‟s new constitution: How it differs from old version: 25 December 2013

http://www.voanews.com/content/egypt-constitution/1572169.html

17 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 Executive Summary April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

18 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1e April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

19 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1e April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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2.2.12 Human Rights Watch noted that during 2012 military prosecutors continued to try

Human Rights Watch noted that during 2012 military prosecutors continued to try

civilians before military courts, including after President Morsy took power. In

November, military police arrested 25 civilians during an attempted eviction on the

island of Qursays in Cairo, and prosecutors ordered their detention pending trial

before a military court. A committee set up by presidential decree to review all those

convicted by military courts recommended the release of up to 700 prisoners by

presidential pardon, but failed to recommend the retrial of the remaining 1,100

prisoners convicted by military courts on “security” grounds.20

2.2.13 Individuals had access to civil courts for lawsuits relating to human rights violations

Individuals had access to civil courts for lawsuits relating to human rights violations

and filed such lawsuits during 2012. However, the evidentiary standards required

for a conviction often meant that cases were dismissed or defendants acquitted in

the face of lack of evidence or conflicting witness testimonies. Some civil society

activists and politicians claimed that some prosecutors and judges held biases in

favour of the security forces and Mubarak government that caused them to acquit

some police officers and high-profile political figures associated with the Mubarak

government.21

2.2.14 Emergency powers issued on 27 January 2013 give the police the authority to

Emergency powers issued on 27 January 2013 give the police the authority to

detain people in the three cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia for up to 30 days

without any judicial review, and permit trials of those detained before emergency

security courts.22 Freedom House noted that because military judges are appointed

by the executive branch for renewable two-year terms, military tribunals lack

independence. Verdicts are based on little more than the testimony of security

officers and informers, and are reviewed only by military judges and the president.23

Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights expressed

concern that the trial of the 21 people involved in the Port Said football violence

which led to 74 deaths was not fair and that some of the defendants were reported

to have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in detention.24, 25

2.2.15 Corruption remains pervasive at all levels of government. Egypt was ranked 118

Corruption remains pervasive at all levels of government. Egypt was ranked 118

out of 176 countries surveyed in Transparency International‟s 2012 Corruption

Perceptions Index.26 The deposed president Mubarak and his former interior

minister, Habib el-Adly, were sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012 for their

roles in the deaths of unarmed protesters during the February 2011 uprising.

However, judges in the same trial dismissed corruption charges against Mubarak

and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, citing technicalities. Freedoms of association and

assembly are restricted, but Egyptians continued to actively participate in largescale

demonstrations throughout 2012. Protests repeatedly turned violent or

20 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013: 31 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

21 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1e April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

22 Human Rights Watch, Egypt: Emergency Powers Excessive, 20 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/01/30/egypt-emergency-powers-excessive

23 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – Egypt – 2013 January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

24 Amnesty International, Egypt football violence death sentences condemned, 11 March 2013

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/014/2013/en/5def3d49-be7b-4772-a157-

5960fc887bcc/mde120142013en.pdf

25 International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Post revolution president following in Mubarak‟s

footsteps? 12 February 2013

http://www.fidh.org/Egypt-Post-revolution-president-12811

26 Transparency International: Corruption Perceptions Index 2012

http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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prompted police crackdowns, with many demonstrators suffering abuses and

injuries.27

2.2.16 Amnesty International reported that police brutality, and impunity for police violence

Amnesty International reported that police brutality, and impunity for police violence

was the hallmark of Hosni Mubarak‟s rule, and was one of the main triggers of the

„25 January Revolution‟. However, two years on, frustrations are growing at the

slow pace of reform and ongoing abuses committed by police and other security

forces who continue to act with impunity.28 Police continued to use torture in police

stations and at points of arrest, mostly during investigations in regular criminal

cases, but also in some political cases, such as the torture of protesters arrested in

Cairo in August and November. Police torture led to at least 11 deaths in custody

cases during 2012. Police have also continued to use excessive and sometimes

lethal force, both in policing demonstrations and in regular policing. Torture by the

military also took place. In May, military officers arrested at least 350 protesters,

including 16 women after a protest near the Ministry of Defence in Cairo turned

violent. Those released over the following days gave consistent accounts of torture

and beatings during arrest and in detention.29

2.2.17 Since December 2011, police and army members have arrested and detained over

Since December 2011, police and army members have arrested and detained over

300 children who participated in protests. Children arrested at protests at the

Ministry of Interior in February 2012, and in front of the American embassy in

September reported beatings that in some cases amounted to torture. Despite the

high numbers of juvenile detainees, including children living and working on the

street, authorities consistently detained children with adults in police stations. They

are brought before regular prosecutors instead of being referred to the juvenile

justice system as required by law.30

2.2.18 There has been no process of transitional justice in Egypt to account for the crimes

There has been no process of transitional justice in Egypt to account for the crimes

of the Mubarak era nor has there been real accountability for the violence during the

January 2011 uprising, which left 846 dead. There has been no accountability for

the military‟s involvement in the torture and beating of hundreds of demonstrators

on 25 February, 9 March, 9 April, 4 May, and 17 December 2011. In March 2012, a

military judge acquitted the only military officer on trial for the sexual assault against

seven female protesters in a military prison in March 2011 under the guise of

“virginity tests.” In September, a military court sentenced three military officers to

two years‟ imprisonment for driving the armoured vehicles that ran over and killed

13 protesters in front of Maspero television building in October 2011. However,

there was no investigation into the shooting of 14 other protesters on the same day.

No other military officers have been held accountable for abuses since the January

uprising.31

2.3 Internal relocation.

2.3.1 Case workers must refer to the Asylum Instruction on Internal Relocation and in the

Case workers must refer to the Asylum Instruction on Internal Relocation and in the

27 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – Egypt – January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

28 Amnesty International: Egypt: „Torture ties the Egyptian government to a brutal past‟ 11 February 2013

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/feature-torture-ties-egyptian-government-brutal-past-2013-02-11

29 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013: 13 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

30 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013: 13 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

31 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013: 13 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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case of a female applicant, the AI on Gender Issues in the Asylum Claim, for

guidance on the circumstances in which internal relocation would be a „reasonable‟

option, so as to apply the test set out in paragraph 339O of the Immigration Rules.

It is important to note that internal relocation can be relevant in both cases of state

and non-state agents of persecution, but in the main it is likely to be most relevant

in the context of acts of persecution by localised non-state agents. If there is a part

of the country of return where the person would not have a well founded fear of

being persecuted and the person can reasonably be expected to stay there, then

they will not be eligible for a grant of asylum. Similarly, if there is a part of the

country of return where the person would not face a real risk of suffering serious

harm and they can reasonably be expected to stay there, then they will not be

eligible for humanitarian protection. Both the general circumstances prevailing in

that part of the country and the personal circumstances of the person concerned

including any gender issues should be taken into account. Case workers must refer

to the Gender Issues in the asylum claim where this is applicable. The fact that

there may be technical obstacles to return, such as re-documentation problems,

does not prevent internal relocation from being applied.

2.3.2 Very careful consideration must be given to whether internal relocation would be an

Very careful consideration must be given to whether internal relocation would be an

effective way to avoid a real risk of ill-treatment/persecution at the hands of,

tolerated by, or with the connivance of, state agents. If an applicant who faces a

real risk of ill-treatment/persecution in their home area would be able to relocate to a

part of the country where they would not be at real risk, whether from state or nonstate

actors, and it would not be unreasonable to expect them to do so, then asylum

or humanitarian protection should be refused.

2.3.3 Egyptian law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel,

Egyptian law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel,

emigration and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in

practice. There are however, notable exceptions, including the handling of refugees

and asylum seekers. Neither citizens nor foreigners are allowed to travel in areas

of the country designated as military zones.32 Men who have not completed

compulsory military service may not travel abroad or emigrate. Completion of

military service is indicated on national identification cards. Police officials

reportedly force unmarried women younger than 21 to present their father‟s written

permission to obtain a passport and travel, although this is not required by law.33 In

rural areas, women‟s day-to-day freedom of movement is often restricted, and

widespread sexual harassment in urban areas also inhibits freedom of movement.34

2.3.4 Careful consideration must be given to the relevance and reasonableness of

Careful consideration must be given to the relevance and reasonableness of

internal relocation on a case by case basis taking full account of the individual

circumstances of the particular claimant. Case workers need to consider the ability

of the persecutor to pursue the claimant in the proposed site of relocation, and

whether effective protection is available in that area. Case workers will also need to

consider the age, gender, health, ethnicity, religion, financial circumstances and

support network of the claimant, as well as the security, human rights and socioeconomic

conditions in the proposed area of relocation, including the claimant‟s

ability to sustain themselves.

32 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 2d April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

33 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 2d April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

34 OECD, Social Institutions and Gender Index 2012: Egypt, (accessed March 2013) Restricted civil liberties

http://genderindex.org/country/egypt-arab-rep

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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2.3.5 Since the overthrow of President Mubarak and the election of President Morsi,

Since the overthrow of President Mubarak and the election of President Morsi,

security conditions in Egypt, particularly in urban areas, have become more volatile

and uncertain. The breakdown of law and order has had the greatest impact on the

more vulnerable sections of society, resulting in greater difficulty for those wishing

to move around the country. Women and religious minorities, mainly Christians35

but also Shia Muslims and others, have borne the brunt of violent attacks, sexual

assault and violent kidnap.36 Muslims who have converted to Christianity are

generally unable to register as Christians or change their identity cards, and

therefore experience difficulty in relocating internally.

2.4 Country guidance caselaw

Supreme Court. RT (Zimbabwe) & others v Secretary of State for the Home

Department [2012] UKSC 38 (25 July 2012) The Supreme Court ruled that the

The Supreme Court ruled that the

rationale of the decision in HJ (Iran)applies to cases concerning imputed political

opinion. Under both international and European human rights law, the right to

freedom of thought, opinion and expression protects non-believers as well as

believers and extends to the freedom not to hold and not to express

opinions. Refugee law does not require a person to express false support for an

oppressive regime, any more than it requires an agnostic to pretend to be a

religious believer in order to avoid persecution. Consequently an individual cannot

be expected to modify their political beliefs, deny their opinion (or lack thereof) or

feign support for a regime in order to avoid persecution.

3. Main categories of claims

3.1 This Section sets out the main types of asylum claim, humanitarian protection claim

This Section sets out the main types of asylum claim, humanitarian protection claim

and discretionary leave claim on human rights grounds (whether explicit or implied)

made by those entitled to reside in Egypt. Where appropriate it provides guidance

on whether or not an individual making a claim is likely to face a real risk of

persecution, unlawful killing or torture or inhuman or degrading treatment/

punishment. It also provides guidance on whether or not sufficiency of protection is

available in cases where the threat comes from a non-state actor; and whether or

not internal relocation is an option. The law and policies on persecution,

Humanitarian Protection, sufficiency of protection and internal relocation are set out

in the relevant Asylum Instructions, but how these affect particular categories of

claim are set out in the instructions below. All Asylum Instructions can be accessed

via the Horizon intranet site. The instructions are also published externally on the

Home Office internet site at:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/asylumpoli

cyinstructions/

3.2 Each claim should be assessed to determine whether there are reasonable grounds

Each claim should be assessed to determine whether there are reasonable grounds

for believing that the applicant would, if returned, face persecution for a Convention

reason - i.e. due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social

group or political opinion. The approach set out in Karanakaran should be followed

35 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 Executive Summary April 2013

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

36 The Huffington Post: 13 February 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/helena-williams/egypt-sexual-violence-against-women_b_2676810.html

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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when deciding how much weight to be given to the material provided in support of

the claim (see the Asylum Instruction „Considering the asylum claim and assessing

credibility‟).

).

3.3 For any asylum cases which involve children either as dependents or as the main

For any asylum cases which involve children either as dependents or as the main

applicants, Case workers must have due regard to Section 55 of the Borders,

Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The Home Office instruction Every Child

Matters; Change for Children‟ sets out the key principles to take into account in all

‟ sets out the key principles to take into account in all

Agency activities.

3.4 If the applicant does not qualify for asylum, consideration should be given as to

If the applicant does not qualify for asylum, consideration should be given as to

whether a grant of Humanitarian Protection is appropriate. Where an application for

asylum and Humanitarian Protection falls to be refused there may be compelling

reasons for granting Discretionary Leave (DL) to the individual concerned (see

Asylum Instruction on Discretionary Leave).

Consideration of Articles 15(a) and (b) of the Directive/Articles 2 and 3 ECHR

3.5 An assessment of protection needs under Article 15(c) of the Directive should only

An assessment of protection needs under Article 15(c) of the Directive should only

be required if an applicant does not qualify for refugee protection, and is ineligible

for subsidiary protection under Articles 15(a) and (b) of the Directive (which broadly

reflect Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR). Case workers are reminded that an applicant

who fears a return to a situation of generalised violence may be entitled to a grant

of asylum where a connection is made to a Refugee Convention reason or to a

grant of Humanitarian Protection because the Article 3 threshold has been met.

Other severe humanitarian conditions and general levels of violence

3.6 There may come a point at which the general conditions in the country – for

There may come a point at which the general conditions in the country – for

example, absence of water, food or basic shelter are unacceptable to the point

that return in itself could, in extreme cases, constitute inhuman and degrading

treatment. Decision makers need to consider how conditions in the country and

locality of return, as evidenced in the available country of origin information, would

impact upon the individual if they were returned. Factors to be taken into account

would include age, gender, health, effects on children, other family circumstances,

and available support structures. It should be noted that if the State is withholding

these resources it could constitute persecution for a Convention reason and a

breach of Article 3 of the ECHR.

3.7 As a result of the Sufi & Elmi v UK judgment in the European Court of Human

As a result of the Sufi & Elmi v UK judgment in the European Court of Human

Rights (ECtHR), where a humanitarian crisis is predominantly due to the direct and

indirect actions of the parties to a conflict, regard should be had to an applicant's

ability to provide for his or her most basic needs, such as food, hygiene and shelter

and his or her vulnerability to ill-treatment. Applicants meeting either of these tests

would qualify for Humanitarian Protection.

Credibility

3.8 This guidance is not designed to cover issues of credibility. Case workers will need

This guidance is not designed to cover issues of credibility. Case workers will need

to consider credibility issues based on all the information available to them. For

guidance on credibility see „Section 4 – Making the Decision in the Asylum

Instruction „Considering the asylum claim and assessing credibility‟. Case workers

must also ensure that each asylum application has been checked against previous

UK visa applications. Where an asylum application has been biometrically matched

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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to a previous visa application, details should already be in the Home Office file. In

all other cases, the case owner should satisfy themselves through CRS database

checks that there is no match to a non-biometric visa. Asylum applications matches

to visas should be investigated prior to the asylum interview, including obtaining the

Visa Application Form (VAF) from the visa post that processed the application.

3.9 Christians & Christian Converts

3.9.1 Applicants may make an asylum and/or human rights claim based on a fear of illtreatment

Applicants may make an asylum and/or human rights claim based on a fear of illtreatment

amounting to persecution due to their religion of birth, or of having

converted from Islam to Christianity.

3.9.2 Treatment: Approximately 90% of the population of Egypt is Sunni Muslim.

: Approximately 90% of the population of Egypt is Sunni Muslim.

Estimates of the percentage of Christians range from 8 to 12%, i.e. 6 to 10 million;

the majority of these belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church. There are tiny

numbers of minority faiths, e.g. other Christian denominations, Jews (approximately

100), Baha‟is, and Shia Muslims.37 In addition to the violence, Christians face

official and societal discrimination; although Egyptian government officials claim that

there is no law or policy that prevents Christians from holding senior positions, the

Coptic Orthodox Christian community faces de facto discrimination in appointments

to high-level government and military posts. Public university training programmes

for Arabic language teachers exclude non-Muslims, because the curriculum

involves the study of the Qur‟an. Under Egyptian law, Muslim men can marry

Christian women, but Muslim women are prohibited from marrying Christian men.38

Anti-Christian employment discrimination is evident in the public sector, particularly

the security services and military, and the government frequently denies or delays

permission to build and repair churches.39

3.9.3 Following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the

Following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the

Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) (now defunct) claimed that it had

addressed some of the ongoing religious freedom concerns, including

discriminatory and repressive laws and policies that interfered with freedom of

thought, conscience and religion or belief. However, Egypt continues to be

designated a “country of particular concern” under the 1998 International Religious

Freedom Act.40 Islam is the state religion; some reforms were initiated in 2011 to

decrease state involvement in religious institutions, and the SCAF said it would

continue to monitor religious extremism. Even so, inter-religious bloodshed has

been increasing in recent years, with Christians suffering most of the violence.41

3.9.4 On 6 January 2010 (the Coptic Christmas), six worshippers were killed at Nag

On 6 January 2010 (the Coptic Christmas), six worshippers were killed at Nag

Hammadi, in Upper Egypt as they left their church.42 In January 2011, a Coptic

37 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt, 30 July 2012, Section 2

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

38 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt March 2012 – „discrimination against Christians‟

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012.pdf

39 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – 2013 – Egypt: January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

40 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt March 2012 – Chapter Summary:

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012%20two-pager.pdf

41 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – 2012 – Egypt, March 2012

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/egypt-0

42 The British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate: accessed 15 February 2013

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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church in Alexandria was bombed, killing 23 people. An investigation was opened

by the prosecutor, but by Jan 2012 no-one had yet been charged in connection with

the incident. On 8 March 2011, Christians in the eastern Cairo suburb of Muqattam

protested the burning of a church four days earlier in Atfih, 13 miles south of Cairo,

and clashed with Muslims. Twelve people died in the ensuing violence and

shootings, and several Christian homes and businesses were torched. The

prosecutor has yet to investigate the incident. In May 2011, sectarian violence

outside a church in Imbaba, a neighbourhood of Cairo, left 12 dead. On 30

September 2011, a mob burnt down the Mar Girgis church in Aswan, but local

authorities and prosecutors failed to investigate, instead insisting on a settlement.

The Prime Minister ordered an acceleration of the drafting of a new law to facilitate

the renovation and construction of churches, a longstanding demand of Christians

who face discrimination in this respect.43 The destruction and burning of churches

is occurring increasingly frequently, together with arson attacks on Christian owned

shops and homes.44 45

3.9.5 In October 2011, the Catholic Church officially implicated the interim military-led

In October 2011, the Catholic Church officially implicated the interim military-led

regime (SCAF) in the deaths of 25 people, the majority of them Copts, in violence

on the streets of central Cairo. More than 200 others were injured, in an attack on

peaceful demonstrators (both Muslim and Christian) who were calling for greater

action to protect Christians.46 The state media had falsely accused Coptic

Christians of attacking the Egyptian military during peaceful protests marching

towards the Maspero state television station; a TV presenter called on the local

population to go out and protect security forces from attacks by Christian protesters.

This resulted in the above violence in Cairo, including the use of live ammunition,

and at least 12 protesters deliberately crushed to death by armoured vehicles.47

3.9.6 Sectarian violence continued to increase in 2012, and Christians are reported as

Sectarian violence continued to increase in 2012, and Christians are reported as

having borne the brunt of the violence. In February 2012, eight families were

evicted from their homes in the village of Sharbat after violent skirmishes over a

rumoured affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman. In September

2012, several Christian families fled their homes in Sinai following threats from

suspected Islamist militants and a shooting at a Christian-owned shop. Throughout

2012, minority religious communities expressed concern that Islamist political power

would render them more vulnerable to abuse. Coptic members of the constituent

assembly resigned, claiming that their interests were not being represented in the

process.48

3.9.7 Through inaction, the government failed to prevent violence against Christians or

Through inaction, the government failed to prevent violence against Christians or

stop the destruction of churches and religious minority-owned property. Authorities

http://britishorthodox.org/glastonbury-review-archive/glastonbury-review-archive-issue-118/2

43 Human Rights Watch: Country Summary – Egypt – January 2012: 16 January 2012

http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-egypt

44 Assyrian International News Agency: 3/5/2011 „Nearly 4000 Muslims attack Christian homes in Egypt;

torch church‟. http://www.aina.org/news/20110304222016.htm

45 USA Today: Church burning deepens tumult of Egypt transition: 5/8/2011

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-05-08-egypt-church-arrests_n.htm

46 Aid to the Church in Need: Christians and the struggle for religious freedom: 2012:

http://www.acnuk.org/data/files/ACN_Christians_and_the_Struggle_for_Religious_Freedom.pdf

47 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt March 2012– „violence targeting Christians‟

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012.pdf

48 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – Egypt – 2013, January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

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also failed to investigate effectively and prosecute crimes against Christians.49 In

March 2013, Amnesty International noted that religious minorities have continued to

suffer discrimination by the authorities and receive inadequate protection from the

state from sectarian violence. Discrimination and attacks against Coptic Christians,

the largest religious minority in Egypt, are particularly prevalent.50

3.9.8 Following the death of Pope Shenouda III, who died in March 2012 after four

Following the death of Pope Shenouda III, who died in March 2012 after four

decades on the patriarchal throne, Pope Tawadros II was confirmed as the new

leader of Egypt‟s Christian minority; the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi did not

attend, although the Prime Minister, Hisham Qandil, did attend.51 Many Coptic

Christians are leaving the country since the revolution and subsequent Islamist

takeover of politics, according to priests and community leaders. Coptic Christian

churches in the West are increasing in number to accommodate waves of new

arrivals as Egyptian Coptic priests describe a new climate of fear and uncertainty.52

3.9.9 Islam is the state religion. It interprets Sharia as forbidding Muslims from converting

Islam is the state religion. It interprets Sharia as forbidding Muslims from converting

to another religion. A poll conducted in 2010 found that 84% of Egyptian citizens

support the death penalty for conversion from Islam to Christianity.53 Although

there are no statutory prohibitions on conversion, the government does not

recognise any religious conversions of citizens born as Muslims. This policy, in

addition to the refusal of local officials to recognise such conversions legally,

constitutes a prohibition in practice.54 Egyptian courts have also refused to allow

Muslims who convert to Christianity to change their identity cards to reflect their

conversions. A lower court ruled in January 2008 that Muslims are forbidden from

converting from Islam based on principles of Islamic law, because conversion would

constitute a disparagement of the official state religion, and entice other Muslims to

convert. In some instances converts, who fear government harassment if they

officially register their change in religion from Islam to Christianity, have reportedly

altered their identification cards and other official documents to reflect their new

religious affiliation. Over the years, some individuals have been arrested for

falsifying identity documents following conversion. Other converts have fled the

country for fear of government and societal repercussions.55

3.9.10 The new constitution of 2012 specifically bans “insults to the prophets of Islam”;

The new constitution of 2012 specifically bans “insults to the prophets of Islam”;

conversion from Islam to another religion is considered to be apostasy, and is

viewed very seriously.56 Converts from Islam to Christianity lose all rights of

49 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt, 30 July 2012 Section 2

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

50 Amnesty International, Egypt: Fighting for justice and human rights: Egypt's women activists describe their

struggle, 15 March 2013, „Discrimination against Coptic Christians‟

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/011/2013/en/4b46a265-c3db-443d-b22aa70e6d9fb0fd/

mde120112013en.pdf

51 BBC News: Egypt: „Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II enthroned in Cairo‟ 18 November 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20384446

52 The Telegraph: „Egypt‟s Coptic Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover – 13 January 2013

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/9798777/Egypts-Coptic-Christiansfleeing-

country-after-Islamist-takeover.html

53 Pew Research Global Attitudes Survey, Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah: 2 December

2010:http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

54 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt, 30 July 2012 : Section 2

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

55 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt – March 2012, „converts & re-converts to Christianity‟.

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012.pdf

56 Voice of America: „Egypt‟s new constitution: How it differs from old version: 25 December 2013

http://www.voanews.com/content/egypt-constitution/1572169.html

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inheritance. The government offers no legal means for such converts to amend

their civil records to reflect their new religious status apart from the recent exception

of re-converts, therefore a convert‟s loss of inheritance rights may not be indicated

on their civil documentation.57

3.9.11 The Egyptian government generally does not recognise conversions of Muslims to

The Egyptian government generally does not recognise conversions of Muslims to

other religions. In a case brought by Muhammad Hegazy in January 2008, a lower

court ruled that Muslims are forbidden from converting from Islam based on

principles of Islamic law, because conversion would constitute a disparagement of

the official state religion and entice other Muslims to convert. Hegazy appealed this

ruling, but remains in hiding. Another case in 2009, Maher El-Gohary, also went

into hiding due to threats and harassment by extremists. He has since left the

country and applied for asylum in France.58

3.9.12 Video footage of a Christian convert from Islam being publicly beheaded in an

Video footage of a Christian convert from Islam being publicly beheaded in an

extra-judicial murder in Tunisia was shown on Egyptian television in June 2012. A

month previously, a leading figure in the Egyptian Salafist movement, Sheikh Yassir

al-Burhami, said:

Is it the right of the Muslim to convert to Christianity or another religion? Of course

this is not a right; this is a matter that Sharia has clearly addressed, according to the

agreed upon hadiths. It is impermissible, for any reason, for a Muslim to leave the

community. Of course, you cannot coerce any infidel to enter into Islam [Quran

2:256] except for the apostate. It is impossible to let the apostate remain in [a

state of] apostasy, deeming it a form of "freedom”.59

3.9.13 Incidents of sectarian violence between Copts and Muslims continued throughout

Incidents of sectarian violence between Copts and Muslims continued throughout

2012 with no new prosecutions or serious investigations, with the exception of the

investigation into sectarian violence in Dahshour, Giza, where prosecutors ordered

the detention of nine suspects. On February 1, police and local religious and

political leaders ordered the eviction of eight Christian families after Muslim

residents sacked homes and shops of Christian residents in the village of Sharbat,

near Alexandria. The eviction was overturned two weeks later after

parliamentarians visited the area, but by the end of the year, police had still failed to

prosecute anyone for the violence despite a police report identifying suspects. On

21 May 2012, in the southern city of Minya an Emergency State Security court,

which does not meet fair trial standards, sentenced 12 Christians to life in prison

and acquitted 8 Muslim defendants who had been charged in connection with

clashes between Muslims and Christians in April 2011. The clashes had left two

Muslims dead, several wounded from both sides, and scores of Christian shops and

homes torched.60

3.9.14 In the absence of legal means to register their change in religious status, some

In the absence of legal means to register their change in religious status, some

converts have resorted to soliciting illicit identity papers. During past years, the

authorities have detained and charged converts and those assisting them, with

57 U.S. State Department, International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt: 30 July 2012, Section 2.

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

58 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt – March 2012, „converts & re-converts to Christianity‟.

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012.pdf

59 The Barnabus Fund: „ Convert from Islam to Christianity slaughtered „ 8 June 2012

http://barnabasfund.org/Convert-from-Islam-to-Christianity-slaughtered-by-Muslims.html

60 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013: 31 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

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violating laws that prohibit the falsification of documents. The minor children of

such converts to Christianity, and in some cases adult children who were minors

when their parents converted, may automatically become classified as Muslims by

the government, irrespective of the religion of the other parent. This is in

accordance with the government interpretation of Islamic law, which dictates that

there must be “no jurisdiction of a non-Muslim over a Muslim”.61

3.9.15 The Egyptian authorities typically conduct „reconciliation‟ sessions between Muslims

The Egyptian authorities typically conduct „reconciliation‟ sessions between Muslims

and Christians as a means of resolving disputes. In some cases, the authorities

compel victims to abandon their claims to legal remedy. The ongoing violence and

failure to prosecute perpetrators of attacks on Christians has continued to foster a

climate of impunity, making further violence more likely.62

3.9.16 In recent years, there have been a number of reports of Coptic women and girls

In recent years, there have been a number of reports of Coptic women and girls

being abducted by Muslim men, and forced to convert to Islam. Reports of such

cases are often disputed, and frequently include allegations and categorical denials

of kidnapping and rape.63 A Coptic activist (Dr. Oliver) reported that the abduction

of Christian minors for the purpose of forced conversion to Islam happens regularly.

He cited a number of cases where the missing child had been placed in the care of

the state until the age of 18, therefore legitimising the kidnaps. He claimed there is

an active ring called “Sharia Association of Ain Shams” in the Cairo suburb of ain

Shams, which kidnaps Christian minors, and relies on the protection and backing of

a particular prosecutor who colludes with the association.64

3.9.17 Women who convert whilst married to a Muslim risk having their marriage annulled

Women who convert whilst married to a Muslim risk having their marriage annulled

and losing any rights over their children. Converts who are still officially recognised

as „Muslim‟ are protected from loss, since their conversion is not officially

recognised.65 The rights of Christians who convert to Islam, and then decide to

revert back to their original religion, have been recognised in Egyptian law, but

those whose were born Muslim are subject to severe sanctions if they admit their

conversion to Christianity.66

See also: Actors of protection (section 2.2 above)

Internal relocation (section 2.3 above)

(section 2.3 above)

Caselaw (section 2.4 above)

(section 2.4 above)

3.9.18 Conclusion: The constitution allows for the freedom of citizens to practice one of

The constitution allows for the freedom of citizens to practice one of

the three monotheistic religions, i.e. Christianity, Islam or Judaism. However in

practice, Christians in Egypt do face generalised societal discrimination and in

61 U.S. State Department, International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt: 30 July 2012, Section 2

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

62 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012: Egypt March 2012–

Country Summary:

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012%20two-pager.pdf

63 U,S, State Department, International Religious Freedom Report 2011: Egypt: 30 July 2012, Section 3.

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192881

64 Assyrian International News Agency: Egyptian Judiciary accused of collusion in kidnapping and forced

Islamisation of Christian minors: 25 January 2012:

http://www.aina.org/news/20120124192832.htm

65 The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2012 – Countries of Particular

Concern: Egypt March 2012 – „converts & re-converts to Christianity‟.

http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2012ARChapters/egypt%202012.pdf

66 The Sydney Morning Herald: „Ruling against Islamic Law on Conversion‟ 11 February 2008

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/ruling-against-islamic-law-onconversion/

2008/02/10/1202578601077.html

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recent years, levels of violence and ill-treatment have become increasingly severe

and more overt. Christians may face intimidation and serious harassment which in

many cases will amount to persecution. Caseowners must carefully consider each

case on its facts. The authorities frequently fail to provide effective protection to

Christians, or to investigate and prosecute instances of serious harassment and illtreatment.

Where an individual is able to demonstrate that they are at serious risk

of persecution on account of their particular individual circumstances and internal

relocation is unavailable, a grant of asylum will be appropriate.

3.9.19 Christian converts from Islam face serious risks of severe ill-treatment. Islam is the

Christian converts from Islam face serious risks of severe ill-treatment. Islam is the

state religion, and societal attitudes to religious conversion are harshly punitive.

Over 80% of the Muslim population support the use of the death penalty for the

religious sin of apostasy, which is regarded as an insult to Islam. Converts are also

at risk of lengthy prison sentences. Religious status is recorded on a citizen‟s

identity card, without which an individual is seriously disadvantaged. It is almost

impossible to change the religious status on the card legally. Where it is accepted

that the applicant is a Christian who has converted from Islam, a grant of asylum

will be appropriate in the majority of cases.

3.10 Political opposition activists

3.10.1 Some applicants may make an asylum and/or human rights claim based on illtreatment

Some applicants may make an asylum and/or human rights claim based on illtreatment

amounting to persecution on the basis of their previous involvement with

the Mubarak regime, or of their membership of political groups opposed to the

current authorities under President

3.10.2 Treatment: Under ex-President Hosni Mubarak, there were significant limitations on

: Under ex-President Hosni Mubarak, there were significant limitations on

the right of citizens to change their government, although Mubarak was credited

with a limited degree of political stability, security and economic growth. He ruled

for thirty years, but there was widespread anger over the brutality and impunity of

security services, particularly regarding the treatment of political detainees.

Mubarak was also criticised for undemocratic practices, including his assumed plan

of handing power to his son.67

3.10.3 President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011, following 18 days of

President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011, following 18 days of

mass, largely peaceful, protests across Egypt, to which the security forces

responded with lethal and other excessive force. According to official reports, at

least 840 people were killed or died in connection with the protests, and more than

6,000 others were injured. Thousands were detained, and many of these were

tortured or abused.68 Protests began on January 25 2011, as citizens called for

social justice, democracy and an end to police brutality. Police violence against

demonstrators, particularly on 28 January 2011, and worsening economic

conditions hardened the protesters‟ determination.69

3.10.4 In June 2012, Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment for enabling the

In June 2012, Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment for enabling the

massacre of protesters who rose up against his rule. The sentencing judge, Ahmed

Refaat, stated that neither Mubarak nor any other defendants on trial with him were

67 BBC News: Egypt: „The complicated legacy of Egypt‟s Hosni Mubarak‟ 25 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21201364

68 Amnesty International: Egypt – Annual Report 2012, 24 May 2012

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/egypt/report-2012

69 The Guardian: „Hosni Mubarak: Egyptian „Pharaoh‟ dethroned amid gunfire and blood‟ 11 February 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/11/hosni-mubarak-resigns-analysis

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responsible for ordering the lethal assaults by security forces in January and

February 2011 that left so many dead. He said that the ex-President and his former

interior minister Habib al-Adly were guilty only of failing to use their high political

office to put a stop to the bloodshed. Other charges, which included profiteering

and economic fraud, were dismissed, allowing key members of Mubarak‟s family

and security apparatus (including his two sons and several top security officials) to

walk free.70

3.10.5 Following Mubarak‟s resignation, on 13 February 2011, the Supreme Council of the

Following Mubarak‟s resignation, on 13 February 2011, the Supreme Council of the

Armed Forces (SCAF) dissolved parliament, suspended the 1971 constitution, and

ruled as an executive authority not subject to electoral approval for the remainder of

the year. On 30 March 2011, SCAF issued a provisional constitution which

provided for citizens to elect the 508-seat People‟s Assembly every five years, with

10 of the seats filled by presidential appointment. Under the provisional

constitution, citizens were able to directly elect the president, who was to be limited

to two four-year terms.71 The freedom to form, legally register and operate political

parties improved significantly during 2011. However, the law prohibits parties

formed on the basis of religion, class, sect, profession, geography, language or

gender, and new parties are required to have a minimum of 5000 members from at

least 10 provinces. Previously, new parties were only required to have 1000

members.72

3.10.6 The army repeatedly used unnecessary and excessive force, including lethal force,

The army repeatedly used unnecessary and excessive force, including lethal force,

to disperse peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins that escalated into clashes, killing

dozens of protesters, assaulting bystanders in the process, and intimidating people

simply for daring to protest. On some occasions, troops ostensibly stood back while

pro-military “thugs” in civilian dress attacked protesters. The armed forces also

arbitrarily detained and tortured thousands of protesters – including women – many

of whom then faced grossly unfair trials before military courts. Between January and

August 2011, over 12,000 civilians were unfairly tried before such tribunals. All

these serious human rights violations were committed with impunity by people who

believed that they would never be punished for their crimes.73

3.10.7 The main political opponent of ex-President Mubarak, the chairman of the Freedom

The main political opponent of ex-President Mubarak, the chairman of the Freedom

and Justice Party (part of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood) Mohammed Morsi won

the presidential election in 2012; he took office on 30 June 2012. Mr Morsi clashed

with the army, which tried to award itself legislative powers after the Supreme Court

ordered the dissolution of the newly elected parliament, which was dominated by

Islamic allies of Mr Morsi. After forcing out senior officers and rescinding the army‟s

say in legislative and constitutional matters, he signed a decree in November 2012.

This stated that the president‟s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority

including the judiciary. Soon afterwards, the Islamist-dominated body voted to

approve the final draft of the new constitution in a session boycotted by most

liberals and Mr Morsi quickly announced that a referendum would be held on 15

70 The Guardian:‟ Hosni Mubarak‟s sentence greeted with initial euphoria, then anger‟ 2 June 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/hosni-mubarak-sentence-euphoria-anger

71 US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Egypt, 24 May 2012, section

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186423

72 US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Egypt, 24 May 2012, section

3 http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186423

73 Amnesty International, Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt‟s military kill and torture protesters with

impunity, 2 October 2012, Introduction

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/017/2012/en/a6fbc51f-a151-4b74-8c93-

7b625d5cdb75/mde120172012en.pdf

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December 2012.74

3.10.8 On May 31 2012, the State of Emergency expired in Egypt and was not renewed,

On May 31 2012, the State of Emergency expired in Egypt and was not renewed,

ending 31 years of uninterrupted emergency rule. By the end of August that year,

the Ministry of the Interior had released all those detained under the administrative

detention provisions of the emergency law. At least eight trials referred to court

during the state of emergency continued before notorious Emergency State

Security Courts, which do not provide a right of appeal.75 In September 2012, Morsi

appointed 3,649 judges to these courts, but human rights groups mounted a legal

challenge to this move, arguing that Morsi did not have the authority to order such

mass appointments outside a state of emergency.76

3.10.9 In August 2012, Mr Morsi swore in members of his new cabinet, but the makeup

In August 2012, Mr Morsi swore in members of his new cabinet, but the makeup

has lowered expectations of a sweeping change in governance that was the

promise of last year‟s revolt. There were five ministers from the Muslim

Brotherhood, while no ministers from other major political parties were chosen. He

also included at least six former government ministers and a number of long-term

state employees. Out of 35 members in total, only two women ministers were

chosen, and one of them was also the only Christian member.77 Under President

Morsi‟s government, citizens are free to form, legally register, and operate political

parties. However, the law prohibits parties formed on the basis of religion, class,

sect, profession, geography, language or gender, and it requires new parties to

have a minimum of 5000 members from at least 10 provinces. Six new parties

successfully registered during 2012. In September 2012, the Supreme

Administrative Court ruled that the Shia-oriented Al-Tahrir Party could not register

as a party because it is based on religious principles. The Sunni-oriented FJP and

Al-Nour parties faced no such restrictions.78

3.10.10Political opponents of President Morsi have dismissed his decision to go ahead

Political opponents of President Morsi have dismissed his decision to go ahead

with the referendum, and called for mass street protests. Egypt‟s main opposition

coalition, the National Salvation Front, called for mass protests on 11 December

2012 against the draft constitution, stating that it “does not represent the Egyptian

people.” Opposition spokespersons said that the people demanded the

cancellation of the constitutional decree and the postponement of the referendum.

They accused the President of acting like a dictator and say the rescinding of his

decree was an empty gesture, since it had already ensured the adoption of the draft

constitution.79

3.10.11 In December 2012, Human Rights Watch called for an investigation into the

In December 2012, Human Rights Watch called for an investigation into the

detention and abuse of several dozen anti-government protesters in Cairo, by

Muslim Brotherhood members on 5 & 6 December 2012. At least 49 protesters

were unlawfully held outside the Ettihadiya presidential palace gate, an area at that

74 BBC News: Egypt Profile: Updated 15 January 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13313372

75 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013:

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

76 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013:

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

77 AlJazeera: „Egypt‟s Morsi swears in new cabinet‟ 2 August 2012

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/08/201282163659410998.html

78 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 3 April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

79 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: „Egyptian opposition calls for mass protests‟ 9 December 2012

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: „Egyptian opposition calls for mass protests‟ 9 December 2012

http://www.rferl.org/content/egypt-morsi-decree-rescinded/24793219.html

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time occupied by the Muslim Brotherhood and overseen by riot police. The

detentions followed armed clashes that resulted in the deaths of 10 people, mostly

Muslim Brotherhood members, and injuries to 748 more, according to the Health

Ministry.80 Undercover journalists and other witnesses reported that Muslim

Brotherhood members beat and abused protesters, and video reportage showed at

least one young child in handcuffs, bleeding and showing signs of injury. Female

protesters were also physically and sexually abused. A video of the abuse was

posted on 6 December 2012 by the TV station Rasd (RNN) which is friendly to the

Muslim Brotherhood. Various witnesses reported that the police, though present,

did nothing to prevent or to stop the abuse.81

3.10.12 An Egyptian opposition party alleged that one of its activists has died of wounds

An Egyptian opposition party alleged that one of its activists has died of wounds

sustained during police torture while in custody. It is one of many cases that

highlight the brutality of the Egyptian police in cracking down on anti-government

protesters, which has aroused public anger. More than 60 people have died in

protests across Egypt. The Popular Current party said on 4 February 2013 that a

28 year-old activist named Mohammed el-Gindy died on 3 February in the morning,

after being “tortured to death”. A Party spokeswoman (Mona Amer) said that she

saw el-Gindy‟s body and that it carried marks of torture. She stated that el-Gindy

had been electrocuted, he had broken ribs, and a “cord appeared to have been

wrapped around his neck. The medical report cited brain haemorrhage as the

cause of death. 82

3.10.13 On 9 December 2012, President Morsi issued Law No. 107 of 2012, his eleventh

On 9 December 2012, President Morsi issued Law No. 107 of 2012, his eleventh

law since taking office. This law grants law enforcement powers to the armed

forces without any protections against the referral of civilians for military trials.

Previous observations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) have found that during

periods of military rule, military involvement in law enforcement was accompanied

by serious abuses including excessive use of force, torture and sexual assault.

According to HRW, the involvement of the Egyptian military in law enforcement has

been characterised by widespread and serious human rights violations over the

past year and a half. These have included use of excessive force to disperse,

including beating and kicking women, and the torture and sexual assault of female

protesters in March 2011.83

3.10.14 During 2012, there was an increase in prosecutions under restrictive laws from the

During 2012, there was an increase in prosecutions under restrictive laws from the

Mubarak era, which penalised defamation and “spreading false information”.

Security services continued to arrest and abuse journalists during protests. They

also assaulted, arrested and tortured journalists and protesters during protests in

February and May 2012. Following President Morsi‟s election, the authorities

ordered the closure of one TV station and censored at least three editions of

newspapers. The public prosecutor filed criminal defamation charges against at

least 9 journalists in connection with their writing or broadcasting. In November

2012, the minister of justice appointed an investigative judge to interrogate a

80 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: „Investigate Brotherhood‟s Abuse of Protesters‟ 12 December 2012

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/12/egypt-investigate-brotherhood-s-abuse-protesters

81 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: „Investigate Brotherhood‟s Abuse of Protesters‟ 12 December 2012

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/12/egypt-investigate-brotherhood-s-abuse-protesters

82 The Huffington Post: Mohammed El-Gindy, Egypt Activist, Tortured To Death By Police, Opposition Says

2 April 2013:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/mohammed-el-gindy-egypt-activist-tortured-todeath_

n_2614881.html

83 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: „Morsi Law invites Military Trials of Civilians‟ 10 December 2012

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/10/egypt-morsy-law-invites-military-trials-civilians

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number of journalists and activists on charges of “insulting the judiciary”.84

3.10.15 The BBC reported on 4 March 2013 that the security headquarters in the city of

The BBC reported on 4 March 2013 that the security headquarters in the city of

Port Said had been set alight in a second day of clashes between police and antigovernment

protesters. Port Said has been rocked by weeks of intermittent

violence; protests, often leading to violent clashes, have been occurring there since

January 2013, when 21 local football fans were sentenced to death over football

riots which left 74 people dead in February 2012. At least 400 people have been

injured in the latest fighting. News agencies reported that protesters cheered when

army troops fired in the air, in the direction of the police, and were shouting for the

military to side with them, against the police. This recent fighting coincides with

heightened political tensions in Egypt; there is an increasing polarisation between

pro-Islamists and liberal and secular forces since the Islamists took power last

year.85

3.10.16 According to the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, since the election of

According to the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, since the election of

President Mohamed Morsi in June 2012, the Presidency and its appointed

government have committed grave human rights violations and cultivated an

environment of legal impunity. These violations have included extrajudicial killings,

sexual assaults, torture, arbitrary arrests, and the resumption of military trials of

civilians. The violations have targeted media professionals, democracy activists,

protesters, and human rights defenders 86 The International Federation for Human

Rights estimates that between 25 January 2013 and 12 February 2013 clashes

between demonstrators and security forces resulted in at least 53 deaths and 1,757

injuries.87 It also reports that harassment, interrogation and physical violence

against journalists and media professionals has significantly increased.88 According

to IRIN, as of 11 February 2013, the clashes during the second anniversary of the

revolution brought the number of Egyptians killed since the uprising began to at

least 1,085.89

3.10.17 In mid-March 2013, the Guardian reported that police officers in more than a third

In mid-March 2013, the Guardian reported that police officers in more than a third

of Egyptian provinces had gone on strike, including in parts of Cairo and in Port

Said, the troubled northern city where more than 50 people have died in one the

past month in clashes between police and protesters. Among several seemingly

contradictory grievances, police demand better weapons and also claim the Morsi

regime is using them as unwilling pawns in the suppression of protesters.

Campaigners claim that the police have resumed the use of torture, and in some

cases, murder. A recent report by the United Group, a group of human rights

lawyers, alleges that there have been at least 127 victims of police malpractice

84 Human Rights Watch: Egypt: World Report 2013, 31 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

85 BBC News: Egypt Clashes: „Port Said security headquarters torched‟ 4 March 2013,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21658944

86 UN Human Rights Council, Written statement submitted by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, a

non-governmental organization in special consultative status; The international community must act as Egypt

faces human rights crisis, 18 February 2013

http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=21160

87 International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Post revolution president following in Mubarak‟s

footsteps? 12 February 2013

http://www.fidh.org/Egypt-Post-revolution-president-12811

88 International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Two years after the revolution, the protection of basic

citizens‟ rights remains non-existent, 29 January 2013

http://www.fidh.org/Egypt-Two-years-after-the-12791

89 IRIN, Call for investigation into post-revolution deaths in Egypt, 11 February 2013

http://www.irinnews.org/report/97448/Call-for-investigation-into-post-revolution-deaths-in-Egypt

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since December 2012.90

3.10.18 In March 2013, Amnesty International noted that during the 17-month rule of the

In March 2013, Amnesty International noted that during the 17-month rule of the

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, women protesters were beaten in the

streets by security forces and the army. Women were also subjected to sexual and

gender-based violence in detention, including forced “virginity tests” and threats of

rape. Despite promises of accountability, investigations by the army and Public

Prosecution have failed to hold the perpetrators to account. In recent months a

series of serious sexual attacks on women have taken place in Cairo‟s Tahrir

Square where women activists have been separated from their friends and dragged

away by groups of men, who sexually assaulted them and in some cases raped

them, apparently in an effort to stop women from attending protests. Some women

who have tried to report the violence have said they were treated dismissively by

the police.91 On 29 January 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

expressed alarm at the spreading violence and increasing number of deaths in

Egypt, and the fact that some 25 female demonstrators were reported to have been

sexually assaulted in Tahrir square over a few days, in some cases with

extraordinary violence.92

3.10.19 Parliamentary elections, which had been scheduled to begin in April 2013, were

Parliamentary elections, which had been scheduled to begin in April 2013, were

suspended by the Cairo Administrative Court, which ruled that the electoral law

promulgated by President Morsi needed to be reviewed by the Supreme

Constitutional Court. Mr Morsi stated that he respected the ruling, and was unlikely

to appeal. The Administrative Court said that it ordered the elections to be

suspended because the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, the Shura

Council, had not returned the electoral law to the Supreme Constitutional Court for

final review after amending it in February. They said that instead, the Shura

Council had sent the law to Mr Morsi for ratification. The President‟s opponents

said that the ruling was further proof that President Morsi and his Muslim

Brotherhood were mismanaging the country and seeking a monopoly on power;

they accused the government of an epic failure of governance.93

See also: Actors of protection (section 2.2 above)

Internal relocation (section 2.3 above)

(section 2.3 above)

Caselaw (section 2.4 above)

(section 2.4 above)

3.10.20 Conclusion: There are a number of liberal and secular opposition groups active in

There are a number of liberal and secular opposition groups active in

Egypt, and the new constitution does allow for a range of political parties (within

certain parameters). However, many political activists and perceived government

opponents have experienced significant ill-treatment at the hands of the Egyptian

authorities, which in many cases has reached the level of persecution. This is

particularly the case where activists have taken part in protests and demonstrations,

90 The Guardian, Egyptian police go on strike, 10 March 2013

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/10/egypt-police-strike

91 Amnesty International, Egypt: Checklist to combat sexual and gender-based violence, 15 March 2013

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/013/2013/en/579010c2-d145-46b2-9e11-

10ebad5dbb4f/mde120132013en.pdf

92 OHCHR, Egypt: High Commissioner For Human Rights Urges Serious Dialogue And End To Use Of

Excessive Force, 29 January 2013

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12957&LangID=E

93 BBC News: „Egypt court suspends April parliamentary elections‟ 6 March 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21689545

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and/or been subject to arrest and detention. Where an individual is able to

demonstrate that they are at serious risk of facing serious ill-treatment on account

of their activities a grant of asylum will be appropriate. Case workers should

consider applications on a case by case basis, based on the particular

circumstances, profile, gender and history of the individual concerned.

3.10.21 The Supreme Court held in RT (Zimbabwe) that the rationale of the decision in HJ

(Iran) extends to the holding of political opinions. An individual should not be

extends to the holding of political opinions. An individual should not be

expected to modify or deny their political belief, or the lack of one, in order to avoid

persecution.

3.11 Prison and detention centre conditions

3.11.1 Applicants may claim that they cannot return to Egypt due to the fact that there is a

Applicants may claim that they cannot return to Egypt due to the fact that there is a

serious risk that they will be imprisoned on return and that prison conditions in

Egypt are so poor as to amount to torture or inhuman treatment or punishment.

3.11.2 The guidance in this section is concerned solely with whether prison conditions are

The guidance in this section is concerned solely with whether prison conditions are

such that they breach Article 3 of ECHR and warrant a grant of Humanitarian

Protection. If imprisonment would be for a Refugee Convention reason or in cases

where for a Convention reason a prison sentence is extended above the norm, the

asylum claim should be considered first before going on to consider whether prison

conditions breach Article 3 if the asylum claim is refused.

3.11.3 Consideration: Conditions in Egyptian prisons and detention centres are generally

: Conditions in Egyptian prisons and detention centres are generally

harsh, with overcrowding, lack of medical care and poor sanitation particular

problems. Provisions for food, water, lighting and ventilation are generally

inadequate. Abuse of prisoners, including torture, is common, especially in relation

to juveniles, and tuberculosis is widespread.94 Reports confirm that prison inmates

are subject to torture and other human rights abuses.95 Before and after the

revolution, police and NSS officers reportedly employed methods such as stripping

and blindfolding victims; suspending them by the wrists and ankles in contorted

positions or from a ceiling or door frame with feet just touching the floor; beating

them with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; using electric shocks; dousing

them with cold water; sleep deprivation; and sexual abuse, including sodomy. In

2011, there were reports that security officials sexually assaulted some detainees or

threatened to rape them or their family members.96 There were approximately

60,000 prisoners in the penal system during 2012; prison conditions for women are

said to be marginally better than for men, but there are credible reports of the

sexual abuse of female prisoners.97

3.11.4 In February 2013, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies noted that, in the

In February 2013, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies noted that, in the

absence of real and meaningful police reform, torture continues to be carried out in

detention facilities and in public places, leading in a number of cases to the deaths

of detainees. The police continue to use torture as a method of interrogation in their

94 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1c April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

95 Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2013 Egypt, January 2013

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/egypt

96 US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Egypt, 24 May 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186423

97 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1c April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

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criminal investigations. The police have also used torture against activists in an

attempt to intimidate them and at times as punishment for their political activities.98

Human Rights Watch notes that police continued to use torture in police stations

and at points of arrest, mostly during investigations in regular criminal cases, but

also in some political cases and that police torture led to at least 11 deaths in

2012.99

3.11.5 The brutal beating and killing of online activist Khaled Said at the hands of police in

The brutal beating and killing of online activist Khaled Said at the hands of police in

Alexandria in 2010 was one of the factors that helped to start the revolt against ex-

President Mubarak. The State Security Investigations (SSI) police force was

disbanded, as their officials were notorious for committing torture with impunity.100

Nevertheless, police brutality appeared to continue unabated after Mubarak‟s

ousting. Human rights groups reported on torture of those detained by the military

and police, and video footage that emerged in September 2011 showed police and

army officials using electric shocks and beatings during an interrogation.101

3.11.6 On 3 November 2012, nearly two years after the fall of Mubarak, approximately

On 3 November 2012, nearly two years after the fall of Mubarak, approximately

1,000 activists rallied in Cairo to demand an end to brutality and torture in Egyptian

prisons. The El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence told the

crowds that the group documented 150 cases of torture in the 100 days since Mursi

took office. Protestors held up posters showing the disfigured faces and bodies of

torture victims. The protest commemorated the death of Essam Etta, a young

Egyptian whose family claimed he was tortured to death by the authorities in

October 2011, in Torah prison. His family accused prison officers of inserting a

hose into his mouth and anus, pumping water and soap into his body, and causing

his death by massive haemorrhaging.102 In December 2012, an Egyptian activist,

Alber Saber Ayad, was found guilty by the courts of „defamation of religion‟ and of

disseminating material on the internet that defamed religions. During his trial he

was held in Tora Prison; his cell was next to a sewer, and lacked light or clean

water until human rights organisations filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor

on his behalf.103 Amnesty International further reports that torture in police custody

has been systematic and widespread in Egypt for decades and despite numerous

official pledges following the January 2011 uprising that police would respect

human rights, videos of torture and other ill-treatment continue to emerge.104

98 UN Human Rights Council, Written statement submitted by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, a

non-governmental organization in special consultative status; The international community must act as Egypt

faces human rights crisis, 18 February 2013

http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=21160

99 Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013, 31 January 2013

http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/egypt

100 Amnesty International: Egypt – Annual Report 2012, 24 May 2012

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/egypt/report-2012

101 Freedom House: Freedom in the World – 2012 – Egypt, March 2012

http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/egypt-0

102 Reuters News: „Activists rally to end prison torture in Egypt‟ 3 November 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/03/us-egypt-torture-idUSBRE8A20BW20121103

103 Amnesty International: Egypt: „Outrageous‟ guilty verdict in blasphemy case an assault on free

expression‟12 December 2012

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-outrageous-guilty-verdict-blasphemy-case-assault-free-expression-

2012-12-12

104 Amnesty International, Egypt: Agents of repression: Egypt‟s police and the case for reform, 2 October

2012, 3. Abuses on arrest and in custody

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/029/2012/en/576aa9cc-bd07-4724-a410-

95b02009c317/mde120292012en.pdf

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3.11.7 During the revolution of 2011 and the general disorder surrounding ex-President

During the revolution of 2011 and the general disorder surrounding ex-President

Mubarak‟s resignation, prison unrest resulted in the release or escape of

approximately 23,000 inmates and the deaths of at least 189. According to NGO

observers, prison guards killed more than 100 prisoners, and injured hundreds of

others between 29 January and 20 February 2011.105 By the end of 2011, there

were approximately 66,000 prisoners. Juveniles frequently continue to be held

together with adults, and pre-trial detainees are sometimes held with convicted

prisoners. Prisoners are frequently brutalised by the guards.106

3.11.8 The government took steps to automate record-keeping and began imposing fines

The government took steps to automate record-keeping and began imposing fines

instead of incarceration when sentencing non-violent offenders. The penal code

provides for reasonable access to visitors. However, according to NGO observers

and relatives of inmates, the government sometimes prevented visitors‟ access to

detainees. NGO observers claimed that prisoners were sometimes reluctant to

submit complaints to judicial authorities, or to request investigation of alleged

inhumane conditions, due to fear of retribution from prison officials. The

government investigated some, but not all of such allegations during 2012. The

government permitted some visits by independent human rights observers to

prisons and jails during 2012, but permission to conduct such visits was more often

denied. Renovations at some prisons around the country reportedly began to

alleviate some of the problems with prison conditions during the year.107

3.11.9 Prison conditions for women generally are marginally better than those for men.108

Prison conditions for women generally are marginally better than those for men.108

However, recent reports have described sexual torture and abuse of women

detained by the military for taking part in protests. These assaults have been widely

criticised internationally, and have also engendered further protests in response.109

The practice of subjecting women to „virginity tests‟ was condemned and ordered to

be stopped by a civilian tribunal in December 2011.110 Not one member of the army

or security forces has been brought to justice for human rights violations against

women. The only military official tried for conducting forced “virginity tests” was

acquitted by a military court in March 2012.111

3.11.10 Egypt retains the death penalty. At least one individual was judicially executed in

Egypt retains the death penalty. At least one individual was judicially executed in

2011.112 During 2011, at least 123 people were sentenced to death, including at

least 17 who were sentenced after unfair trials before military courts.113 A poll

conducted in 2010 showed that 84% of Muslim citizens in Egypt favoured the death

105 US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Egypt, 24 May 2012, section

1c http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186423

106 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1c April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

107 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1c April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

108 United States Human Rights Report: Egypt 2012 section 1c April 2012

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm

109 Huffington Post (AOL News) Egypt: „Female detainees forced to take virginity tests‟ 24 May 2011

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/24/amnesty-report-female-detainees-in-egypt-forced-to-take-virgin

110 Fox News: „Egyptian Court bans military „virginity tests‟ on female detainees; 27 December 2011

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/12/27/egyptian-court-bans-military-virginity-tests-on-female-detainees

111 Amnesty International, Egypt: Fighting for justice and human rights: Egypt's women activists describe

their struggle, 15 March 2013, Introduction

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/011/2013/en/4b46a265-c3db-443d-b22aa70e6d9fb0fd/

mde120112013en.pdf

112 Hands Off Cain: Executions in 2011 (accessed 21/2/2013):

http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/index.php?tipotema=arg&idtema=16308821

113 Amnesty International Annual Report 2012: Egypt, 24 May 2012, „Death Penalty‟

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/egypt/report-2012

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penalty for Muslims who leave Islam for another religion.114 Over 230 people have

been sentenced to death since the “25 January Revolution” in 2011 including 21

persons for their involvement in the Port Said football violence. Amnesty

International reported that some of the defendants were subjected to torture and

other ill-treatment in detention during the investigation and trial.115

3.11.11 Conclusion: Prison conditions in Egypt are harsh and can be life-threatening, with

Prison conditions in Egypt are harsh and can be life-threatening, with

overcrowding, poor sanitation, a lack of healthcare and generally unhealthy

conditions being particular problems. In addition to these adverse conditions there

are numerous reports that officials and guards act with impunity and regularly abuse

and torture prisoners, physically and sexually, including to death. Information

suggests that such ill-treatment is generalised throughout the prison population.

However, those who have publicly demonstrated their opposition to the authorities

are at greater risk of mistreatment than others.

3.11.12 Where applicants can demonstrate a real risk of imprisonment on return to Egypt,

Where applicants can demonstrate a real risk of imprisonment on return to Egypt,

a grant of Humanitarian Protection will generally be appropriate. However, the

individual factors of each case should be considered to determine whether

detention will cause a particular individual in his particular circumstances to suffer

treatment contrary to Article 3. Relevant factors include the likely length of

detention, the likely type of detention facility, and the individual‟s age, gender,

religion and state of health. Where in an individual case treatment is likely to reach

the Article 3 threshold a grant of Humanitarian Protection will be appropriate.

4. Minors claiming in their own right

4.1 Minors claiming in their own right who have not been granted asylum or HP can

Minors claiming in their own right who have not been granted asylum or HP can

only be returned where (a) they have family to return to and it is appropriate for the

minor to return to them; or (b) there are adequate alternative reception and care

arrangements. Caseworkers should refer to the Asylum Instruction: Processing an

Asylum Application from a Child, which is the main guidance document on UASC

, which is the main guidance document on UASC

return consideration.

4.2 Caseworkers should refer to the Agency‟s guidance on Family Tracing following the

Caseworkers should refer to the Agency‟s guidance on Family Tracing following theCourt of Appeal‟s conclusions in the case of KA (Afghanistan) & Others [2012]

EWCA civ1014. In this case the Court found that Regulation 6 of the Asylum

In this case the Court found that Regulation 6 of the Asylum

Seekers (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2005 imposes a duty on the Secretary

of State to endeavour to trace the families of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking

Children (UASCs).

4.3 At present there is insufficient information to be satisfied that there are adequate

At present there is insufficient information to be satisfied that there are adequate

alternative reception, support and care arrangements in place for minors with no

family in Egypt. Those who cannot be returned should be considered for leave as a

UASC as set out in the relevant Asylum Instruction.

114 Pew Research Global Attitudes Survey: Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah:

2 December 2010: http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-andhezbollah/

115 Amnesty International, Egypt football violence death sentences condemned, 11 March 2013

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/014/2013/en/5def3d49-be7b-4772-a157-

5960fc887bcc/mde120142013en.pdf

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

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5. Medical treatment

5.1 Individuals whose asylum claims have been refused and who seek to remain on the

Individuals whose asylum claims have been refused and who seek to remain on the

grounds that they require medical treatment which is either unavailable or difficult to

access in their countries of origin, will not be removed to those countries if this

would be inconsistent with our obligations under the ECHR. Case workers should

give due consideration to the individual factors of each case and refer to the latest

available country of origin information concerning the availability of medical

treatment in the country concerned. If the information is not readily available, an

information request should be submitted to the COI Service (COIS).

5.2 The threshold set by Article 3 ECHR is a high one. It is not simply a question of

The threshold set by Article 3 ECHR is a high one. It is not simply a question of

whether the treatment required is unavailable or not easily accessible in the country

of origin. According to the House of Lords‟ judgment in the case of N (FC) v SSHD

[2005] UKHL31, it is “whether the applicant‟s illness has reached such a critical

, it is “whether the applicant‟s illness has reached such a critical

stage (i.e. he is dying) that it would be inhuman treatment to deprive him of the care

which he is currently receiving and send him home to an early death unless there is

care available there to enable him to meet that fate with dignity”. That judgment

was upheld in May 2008 by the European Court of Human Rights.

5.3 That standard continues to be followed in the Upper Tribunal (UT) where, in the

That standard continues to be followed in the Upper Tribunal (UT) where, in the

case of GS and EO (Article 3 health cases) India [2012] UKUT 00397(IAC) the

UT held that a dramatic shortening of life expectancy by the withdrawal of

medical treatment as a result of removal cannot amount to the highly exceptional

case that engages the Article 3 duty. But the UT also accepted that there are

recognised departures from the high threshold approach in cases concerning

children, discriminatory denial of treatment, and the absence of resources through

civil war or similar human agency.

5.4 The improvement or stabilisation in an applicant‟s medical condition resulting from

The improvement or stabilisation in an applicant‟s medical condition resulting from

treatment in the UK and the prospect of serious or fatal relapse on expulsion will

therefore not in itself render expulsion inhuman treatment contrary to Article 3

ECHR. All cases must be considered individually, in the light of the conditions in

the country of origin, but an applicant will normally need to show exceptional

circumstances that prevent return, namely that there are compelling humanitarian

considerations, such as the applicant being in the final stages of a terminal illness

without prospect of medical care or family support on return.

5.5 Where a case owner considers that the circumstances of the individual applicant

Where a case owner considers that the circumstances of the individual applicant

and the situation in the country would make removal contrary to Article 3 or 8 a

grant of Discretionary Leave to remain will be appropriate. Such cases should

always be referred to a Senior Caseworker for consideration prior to a grant of

Discretionary Leave. Case workers must refer to the Asylum Instruction on

Discretionary Leave for the appropriate period of leave to grant.

for the appropriate period of leave to grant.

6. Returns

6.1 There is no policy which precludes the enforced return to Egypt of failed asylum

There is no policy which precludes the enforced return to Egypt of failed asylum

seekers who have no legal basis of stay in the United Kingdom.

6.2 Factors that affect the practicality of return such as the difficulty or otherwise of

Factors that affect the practicality of return such as the difficulty or otherwise of

obtaining a travel document should not be taken into account when considering the

merits of an asylum or human rights claim. Where the claim includes dependent

Egypt OGN v.1 7 May 2013

Page 27 of 27

family members their situation on return should however be considered in line with

the Immigration Rules.

6.3 Any medical conditions put forward by the person as a reason not to remove them

Any medical conditions put forward by the person as a reason not to remove them

and which have not previously been considered, must be fully investigated against

the background of the latest available country of origin information and the specific

facts of the case. A decision should then be made as to whether removal remains

the correct course of action, in accordance with chapter 53.8 of the Enforcement

Instructions and Guidance.

6.4 Egyptian nationals may return voluntarily to any region of Egypt at any time in one

Egyptian nationals may return voluntarily to any region of Egypt at any time in one

of three ways: (a) leaving the UK by themselves, where the applicant makes their

own arrangements to leave the UK, (b) leaving the UK through the voluntary

departure procedure, arranged through the UK Immigration service, or (c) leaving

the UK under one of the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) schemes.

6.5 The AVR scheme is implemented on behalf of the Home Office by Refugee Action

The AVR scheme is implemented on behalf of the Home Office by Refugee Action

which will provide advice and help with obtaining any travel documents and booking

flights, as well as organising reintegration assistance in Egypt. The programme was

established in 1999, and is open to those awaiting an asylum decision or the

outcome of an appeal, as well as failed asylum seekers. Egyptian nationals wishing

to avail themselves of this opportunity for assisted return to Egypt should be put in

contact with Refugee Action Details can be found on Refugee Action‟s web site at:

www.choices-avr.org.uk.

.

Country Specific Litigation Team

Operational Policy & Rules Unit

Strategy & Assurance Group

Home Office

7 May 2013


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