Judge Rafaat Zaki Mahmoud Hussein
Judge Rafaat Zaki Mahmoud Hussein participated in the Egyptian authorities' crushing of independent voices by keeping a wife-and-husband team of journalists in extended pretrial detention, as part of a campaign to intimidate them into silence.
Hussein is responsible for the unlawful prosecution of Egyptians for peaceful activism, protected by international human rights law, and for flouting his duty to investigate torture and mistreatment by Egyptian officials.
"In his quest to silence a pair of independent journalists Sollafa Sallam and her husband Hossam el-Sayyad, Hussein kept them in unlawful pretrial detention, leaving their seven-year old son parentless, ," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN. "The only danger they posed was the threat of honest, independent reporting on human rights abuses in Egypt."
Zaki extended the unlawful pretrial detention of award-winning journalist and human rights activist Solafa Magdy Sallam, on August 25, 2020, pending investigation in SSSP Case No. 488/2019, even though no evidence was presented to establish any of the statutory conditions for pretrial detention as stipulated in Article 134 of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure.
He provided no reasons for his decision to extend her remand detention, in violation of Article 136 of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure, which obligates the investigating judge to state "the reasons upon which the order [to extend pretrial detention] is based." At that same hearing, he also extended the pretrial detention of Sallam's husband, Hossam el-Sayyad, also charged in the case.
Sallam is a freelance reporter and human rights activist whose work focuses on marginalized and discriminated groups in Egypt. Security forces arbitrarily arrested her. She disappeared for more than 15 hours before she appeared in front of the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP)
Given the circumstances of their case, Zaki's decisions to extend the pretrial detention of both Sallam and el-Sayyad effectively left their seven-year-old son parentless, in violation of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure (Article 488) and Child Law as well as Article 3 (1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Hussein is a member of the First Terrorism Circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court, chaired by Judge Mohammed Sherin Fahmy. Prior to assuming that post, between 2012 and 2015, Zaki was a Member and then the Head of the Zagazig Criminal Court in Sharkia Governorate in Egypt's Delta. His most famous decisions include sentencing four defendants to death on a single day, September 30, 2015, in two murder cases. On that same day, Judge Ayamn Abbas, then-President of the Cairo Court of Appeals, appointed Zaki to the Terrorism Circuit.
On January 13, 2021 , DAWN requested a response from Hussein by writing to the Egyptian government, but no response has been received as of publication.
Watch the video of Hussein 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.