Islam Khalil was forcibly disappeared after he was ordered to be released by a criminal court last week. Khalil is believed to be in National Security Agency custody, according to Khalil’s brother, Nour Khalil.
Islam was arrested last March and has since been held in remand detention pending investigation into charges of membership in an illegal organization and publishing false news. On February 19, the terrorism circuit of criminal court ordered his release on probation. When Nour visited his brother at Tora Prison two days later, Islam said that he was being threatened, but could not speak freely. He was in a poor psychological state, Nour said, and was not happy about his release decision.
On February 24, Islam was moved between multiple police departments before arriving at al-Santa Police Station in al-Gharbiya governate, which is near his house, in order to complete his release procedures. Islam is required to return to the Santa station twice per week as a condition of his probation.
On February 25, at the end of Islam’s final release proceeding, police officers told Nour that they were waiting for confirmation from the NSA to release him.
“That was the last time I saw him,” Nour told Mada Masr.
On February 27, Nour Khalil went to the Santa head prosecutor to ask about his brother’s whereabouts.
“He called the station deputy, who denied that Islam was there and told him that they issued a report for his absence from Tuesday’s release session,” Nour said. The head prosecutor also contacted the NSA prosecutor, who also denied that they were holding Islam.
Nour testified to the prosecutor, accusing the Santa police department and its chief of detectives of illegally detaining his brother, Nour told Mada Masr. Nour also demanded the release of his brother’s location.
The next day, Nour returned to the station with food for Islam, and officers told Nour that his brother was in an NSA room at the station. Nour was not permitted to see him.
Nour said that he tried to visit his brother again on Wednesday, but officers said he was no longer there.
“I learned from some of the police officers that National Security Agency forces came and transported him to an unknown location,” Nour said.
George Ishaq, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, told Mada Masr that the Council contacted Santa Police Station yesterday, and he was told that Islam was released.
Islam’s lawyer, Halem Heneish, told Mada Masr that he intends to submit a report to the prosecutor on Saturday demanding the disclosure of the whereabouts of his client.
Islam Khalil was previously disappeared by force in May 2015, along with his father and brother. He remained missing for 122 days, before being released in September 2016. On that occasion, he was held by the NSA for 10 days after his official release. In a letter written from behind bars, Khalil detailed the torture to which he was subjected. A former sales manager without a history of activism, Khalil has said he considers his repeated imprisonment to be arbitrary.
Islam Khalil’s case is not the first recent report of a detainee disappearing after they were officially released on probation. Lawyer Ahmed Shawqi previously told Mada Masr that his clients Ezzat Ghoniem and Azzouz Mahgoub were illegally detained at the National Security Agency headquarters in Sheikh Zayed after the Cairo Criminal Court ordered that they be released on probation in September. They remain detained.