Judge Nabil Ahmed Tawfiq Sadek, Former Prosecutor General
Former Egyptian Prosecutor General Nabil Ahmed Tawfiq Sadek is responsible for the unlawful prosecution of thousands of Egyptians for peaceful activism, protected by international human rights law.
During his tenure as prosecutor, he directed prosecutors to hold journalists, political opponents, intellectuals, and rights activists in extended, unlawful, pretrial detention and charged them with security-related crimes, including terrorism, for articles, interviews, tweets, and speeches deemed critical of the government.
"As the country's top prosecutor, Sadek acted as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's henchman, using a facade of law to silence opponents," DAWN's research director Sari Bashi said. "We hope that exposing his personal responsibility for crimes against the people of Egypt is a first step for holding him accountable."
Sadek was Egypt's Prosecutor General from September 2015 until September 2019, and currently is a judge in the Cassation Court. As Egypt's Prosecutor General , Sadek bore overall responsibility for public prosecutions, 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 by the US State Department.
Prosecutors working under Sadek have routinely prosecuted people for their peaceful speech and political activity, which are protected by international human rights law. Under Sadek's leadership and control, these prosecutors used their discretion to order the arrest and pretrial detention of peaceful activists, repeatedly requested 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 government against people who use social media to express any sort of criticism of the government.
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, Egyptian security forces arrested Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy in September 2017 for his peaceful speech and activism, protected by international law, and placed him 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.
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. International organizations should be aware of Sadek's contribution to human rights abuses in his official capacity and avoid including him in events except events that address the Egyptian government's human rights abuses.
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.
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 was promoted to 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 former Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Sadek as Egypt's Prosecutor General.
DAWN contacted the office of Egypt's Prosecutor General on January 7, 2021 and requested a response from Sadek, but no response was received.
Watch the video of Sadek here
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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.