El-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence claimed that Egyptian officials attempted to forcibly close their offices on Tuesday, under the parameters of a closure order previously issued by the Health Ministry.
Ministry officials denied the attempted closure, according to a local journalist who spoke with El Nadeem Centre.
“We are forcibly being shut down right now by members of the Health Ministry,” the centre posted to its official Facebook page earlier on Tuesday.
El Nadeem’s director Aida Seif El-Dawla and another doctor refused to leave the office despite the ministry’s demand. “The ministry’s delegation called the police on us, claiming we prevented them from doing their job,” El Nadeem stated.
The delegation was headed by the director of the ministry’s department of non-governmental rehabilitation institutions. Seif El-Dawla also said three “security” personnel from the Azbakiya district authority dressed in plain clothes were also present.
The centre listed four names of the people they claimed showed up at their office, including Ashraf Samy Ibrahim, who El-Nadeem’s staff has previously dealt with regarding the matter of their closure.
Seif El-Dawla told Daily News Egypt that the officials that arrived to the centre Tuesday did not show official documents, while informing the staff they were going to shut it down.
“I asked to see the closure order, but they rudely replied that ‘it was not my business,’ and that I could go fetch it myself,” said Seif El-Dawla.
She added that the centre is currently “filled with lawyers in their support”, although the office is unsure of what will happen next.
This is not the first time the centre has seen an abrupt attempt by authorities to shut it down, nor is it the first time centre employees have resisted authorities in order to prevent the centre’s closure.
In mid-February, officials came to the centre upon an order from the Health Ministry and the Azbakiya district authorities with the intent of shutting down the office for purported violations.
“Were it not for the fact that the centre’s lawyer, Taher Aboul Nasr, was there, they would have sealed the place off,” Seif El-Dawla told Daily News Egypt at the time.
“However, he negotiated with them and got them to postpone the closure for another week,” she continued, noting that the officials who arrived at the office were unable to specify the violations that prompted the health ministry’s order.
Despite ongoing threats, El Nadeem’s staff was still able to carry on with their activities, including issuing a monthly report on human rights violations by security forces against citizens, especially inside detention places, where El Nadeem’s scope of work is focused, alongside treating survivors of torture.