Judge Nabil Ahmed Tawfiq Sadek, Former Prosecutor General
Nabil Ahmed Tawfiq Sadek was Egypt's Prosecutor General from September 2015 until September 2019, during which he oversaw the unlawful prosecution of hundreds of people for their peaceful speech and activism.
Sadek was born on April 19, 1954. He graduated from the Police Academy in 1976 with a BA in police science and a degree in law. He joined the police force and reached the position of Police Captain before joining the public prosecution on February 4, 1986.
Sadek was promoted to the rank of judge within the public prosecution in 1994 and served as head of the Western Cairo Public Prosecution from 1999 until 2002. He continued to rise within the judicial ranks, becoming head of the criminal court's terrorism circuit in October 2013. In 2015, following the assassination of the former Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Sadek as Egypt's Prosecutor General.
As Egypt's Prosecutor General, Sadek led many judiciary delegations that travelled abroad to represent Egypt in various international and regional occasions. On January 1, 2018, Sadek led Egypt's delegation to a conference of the Prosecutors of the Southern and Northern Mediterranean Countries held in Vienna, Austria.
On April 24, 2018, Sadek led a judicial delegation to Paris to meet with French officials. In November 2018, Sadek won the presidency of the Africa Prosecutors Association, an organization of 30 African prosecution authorities, established in 2003 to enhance cooperation between prosecution agencies and authorities in Africa.
On July 18, 2019, US Attorney General William Barr met with Sadek at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC to discuss law enforcement matters. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding encouraging more cooperation in the fight against transnational crime between the two countries.
As Egypt's Prosecutor General, Sadek bore overall responsibility for public prosecution, including in so-called state security cases, which also target political and human rights activists. He oversaw the Egyptian prosecution's involvement in widespread violations of the right to due process, forced disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, and restrictions on the right to free assembly, speech, and association, as documented even by the US State Department.
Prosecutors working under Sadek routinely prosecuted people for their peaceful speech and political activity, which are protected by international human rights law. These prosecutors used their discretion to order the arrest and pretrial detention of peaceful activists, repeatedly requested an extension of detention orders without presenting evidence that such detention met the statutory criteria, and brought multiple, revolving door charges against defendants to keep them behind bars long after the two-year statutory maximum period of pretrial detention.
During his tenure as Prosecutor General, Sadek issued a decision commanding the heads of the public prosecution and the public attorneys to monitor social media publications. This came as part of a crackdown by the Egyptian regime against people who use social media to express any sort of opposition to the regime.
In July 2018, the Egyptian parliament passed a draconian law stating that a personal social media account, blog, or website with more than 5,000 followers could be considered a media outlet and subject to regulation by the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, a monitoring body with unchecked discretionary power, such as the power to block websites and file criminal complaints against online platforms and media outlets.
Under Sadek's leadership, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was arrested in September 2017 for his peaceful speech and activism, protected by international law, and placed in pretrial detention, where he remains. Prosecutors working under Sadek presented no evidence to justify Hegazy's pretrial detention or criminal prosecution.
As the Prosecutor General, Sadek also declined to investigate any of the petitions and pleas submitted to his office by Walid Shawky's family and lawyers concerning Shawky's unlawful detention and prison conditions.
On October 16, 2018, Shawky's sister sent a telegram to Sadek's office to report Shawky's arbitrary arrest and disappearance from the al-Sayeda Zainab police station. Her correspondence made clear that when the family inquired at the police station about Shawky's whereabouts on October 14, 2018, the officials denied his presence. The family feared that Shawky would face trumped-up charges. Sadek did not respond.
DAWN contacted the office of Egypt's Prosecutor General on January 7, 2021 and requested a response from Sadek, but no response was received.