Head of the Second Terrorism Circuit of the Giza Criminal Court
Judge Moataz Mustafa Ahmed Khafagy participated in the Egyptian authorities' crushing of independent voices by throwing activists, opposition figures, and journalists into extended pretrial detention, as part of a campaign to intimidate them into silence.
Khafagy is responsible for the unlawful prosecution of many Egyptians for peaceful activism, protected by international human rights law, and for flouting his duty to order the investigation of torture and mistreatment by Egyptian officials. The Egyptian judiciary has repeatedly failed to fulfill its basic role in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights.
"Khafagy rubber-stamped prosecutorial requests to keep political opponents in jail without evidence," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN, "In many cases, he didn't even bother to let defendants make arguments in their defense."
Khafagy repeatedly extended the pretrial detentions of political detainees Walid Shawky, Ibrahim Ezz el-Din, Solafa Magdy Sallam, Haitham Mohamedain, and Khaled Dawoud, even though no evidence was presented to establish any of the statutory conditions for pre-trial detention, as stipulated in Article 134 of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure.
He ordered these detainees to remain in pretrial detention without providing reasons for his decision, as required by Egyptian domestic law and international standards of due process. In some instances, Khafagy extended pretrial detention without giving defendants or their lawyers a chance to be present and make arguments, in violation of Egyptian domestic law and international human rights law.
For example, Khafagy extended the pretrial of Shawky, a dentist and political activist charged with "spreading false news," without bothering to allow Shawky to make arguments in his defense. He extended the pretrial detention of Ezz el-Din, an urban planner who researched housing rights and forced evictions, also accused of spreading false news, without giving Ezz el-Din a chance to attend the hearing.
He extended the pretrial detention of Sallam, a journalist who wrote about people with disabilities in Egypt and was charged with spreading false news, without allowing her to be present at the hearing and in violation of Egyptian and international laws requiring him to take into consideration the rights of the seven year-old son she left behind. He extended the pretrial detention of Mohamedain, jailed for organizing workers to promote social justice. He extended the pretrial detention of Dawoud, a politician who opposed the autocracy of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as well as current Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
In Dawoud's case, Khafagy extended his pre-trial detention for 45 days on May 5, 2020 and then again for 45 days on May 15, 2020, indicating disregard for the details of the case and the individual circumstances of the defendant.
That prompted Dawoud's lawyer to submit Request No. 462 to the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) and Petition No. 20823 (petitions of the General Prosecutor) to the General Prosecutor Hamada El-Sawy, demanding that they nullify Khafagy's decision and release Dawoud. On April 12, 2021, Egyptian authorities released Dawoud.
Khafagy has presided over various trials of dissidents, political leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood , civil society activists and activists accused of terrorism. Khafagy's most famous decisions were those imposing death sentences on 13 defendants in the case of Ajnad Misr (Egypt's Soldiers), designated by the U.S. in 2014 as a terrorist organization, and two defendants in the case of al-Warraq Cell.
"Khafagy is the kind of judge that is destroying Egypt's system of justice," Whitson said. "He's a tool in the Egyptian government's repression of independent voices."
Khafagy started his career as a Public Prosecution Assistant for Maadi and Helwan districts in Cairo in 1976. He was promoted in the judicial hierarchy to be a court's chief for two years before returning to Maadi Prosecution, where he spent 11 years. Khafagy is currently a chief judge at the Giza Criminal Court.
On September 23,2020, DAWN requested a response from Khafagy by writing to the Egyptian government, but no response has been received.
Watch the video of Khafagy here:
About DAWN's culprit gallery:
Tyrants need enablers who will implement their oppressive practices, even if it means abusing their fellow citizens. These agents often mask their complicity in the guise of professionals exercising their duties in offices, courtrooms, police stations, and interrogation rooms.
DAWN seeks to disclose the identity of the state agents who enable repression and to make them recognizable at home and abroad. These individuals, whom DAWN calls "culprits," bear administrative, civil, moral, legal, and/or political responsibility for human rights and international humanitarian law violations.