HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN EGYPT
Imprisoned Children and Youths Soccer Fans in Military Court in Egypt!
On July 9th, during the African Champions League competitions, the Egyptian team Zamalek was one of the competitors. The match was held at the Borg El Arab stadium in northern Egypt, which is owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces.
When the Zamalek team exited/withdrew from the Cup tournament, many Zamalek fans responded with riots and insults against the president of the Zamalek club, who responded to the crowd with insults, took his shoes off, and waved defiantly towards the angry crowd. There were no deaths or injuries in the riots, but there were property damages estimated at Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand (LE 750,000) Egyptian pounds, or about Thirty Five Thousand US Dollars (US$35,000). Immediately following the game, a large number of youth were arrested randomly and transferred to Military Court for trials. Among the arrested youths are fifty (50) underage children.
Egyptian police who arrested the game’s youth fans were not themselves the assigned security officers inside the stadium at the time of the riots and never witnessed the youths – – as the arrests were outside the stadium, not during the act. Therefore, there was no clear evidence against those who were arrested.
The evidence presented by legal representatives of the arrested youth confirms that those arrested had no criminal records, nor ever participated in riots. The arrested youths do not belong to political groups or any societies. They come from different cities, hence do not know each other and had nothing in common. The parents believe that the reason for the arrest of their relatives is because they are physically weak, they did not run fast because they did not know why they had to run from the Police, so they became easy targets for arrest by the Egyptian Police.
After the arrest of six hundred (600) young people, three hundred forty four (344) of them were released. The basis for their release was because they were well connected to influential persons and they had the means; the other 236 youths remained in custody. The major shock was in diverting those youths in custody to the Military Court for trials. Military Courts are known to be the most severe courts in Egypt. Diverting Soccer games supporters and cheerers to Military Courts for trials is not only a violation of human rights codes and charters but is also contrary to the rules of the International Federation of Football Associations and the Confederation of African Football. We implore the Egyptian Football Federation, which oversee the football games, to please take action regarding these illegal arrests.
Most of the youths in custody are university students. Their remaining in custody in prison will greatly damage their academic future. The youths in custody include sixty (60) people suffering from chronic diseases, including a developmentally handicapped young man named “Amro Mohammed Yehya Omar”. There were also fifty (50) children under the legal age with proper documents to support their identities and age. The fifty (50) children are also shockingly being tried before the Military Courts!!!!!.
This severe violation of human rights by the Egyptian justice system prompts all concerned civil libertarians, and human rights and children’s rights organizations throughout the world to intercede and take action. The families of the youths in custody offered to apologize and pay for costs of repairs of the stadium, despite their children’s’ innocence. The families of the underage prisoners have sent letters to all concerned parties, including the Egyptian Minister of Defense, and the President of Egypt. Many Egyptian media venues, Television Networks, and well- known Journalists sympathized with the youth in custody and their families because there is no response or action from any Egyptian official.
As the parents of the youths and children in custody are losing hope in finding a just and fair solution to this severe injustice because the Egyptian government continues its lack of response regarding this extreme violation of basic human rights including insisting on the trial of young people before Military Courts, the families are now raising their voices to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), public opinion, social media, and the governments/Parliaments of the free World. We urge them, and the international organizations including the United Nations and human rights organizations and all organizations concerned with the protection and rights of children, to take strong action, and make considerable efforts – – now – – to call on the government of Egypt and demand the release of these imprisoned children who are now suffering inside military prisons. For more information you may communicate with us via