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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Arrest of Egyptian Citizen in Swiss jails is a violation of the Geneva Conventions

The Sawasya Center for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination condemned the ongoing detention of the Egyptian officer Mohammed Ghanem in the Swiss jails. He has been detained since March 2007 without being charged.

"The Egyptian officer Muhammad Ghanem holds a PhD in law granted from the Rome University and wrote many pamphlets concerning legal subjects forming the basis of much of the current Egyptian legislation", the center said.

He was arrested on a report issued accusing Switzerland as part of an "international pact of the cross". The report claims that "Under the pact, the Swiss government was playing a significant role in penetrating the Muslim society to collect intelligence relating to national security". He is presently held in the Champ-Dollon prison in Geneva, where he was transferred to by the Accusation Chamber of Geneva on March 12, 2007. He remains detained there to this day under no apparent charges.

The Sawasya Center asserts that the arrest of the Egyptian officer in Switzerland is in fact a violation of international laws which prohibits the arbitrary arrest and detention carried by states and governments against the public according to the provisions of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile".

In accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations and Article No 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him. Furthermore, anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be entitled to proceedings before a court, in which the court may decide without delay on the legality of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

The Center indicated that the Swiss government had committed infractions with the arrest of the Egyptian citizen; firstly, “a gross infringement of human rights and its basic principles which is supposed to be protected in non-Western countries by the ruling regimes in Europe. Secondly, the freedom of opinion and expression are guaranteed under the constitution and the international law".

It calls upon the Swiss Embassy in Cairo to act promptly and intervene to release the Egyptian citizen since there is no indication that he committed any violations of the law punishable under Swiss law. The Swiss government must provide a fair trial of the Egyptian citizen like any other Swiss citizen. Any violations of this right demonstrate defiance to all international norms and laws.

The Center also urges the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to intervene in investigating what took place in regards to the Egyptian citizen Mohamed Ghanem and to prove whether he was guilty or not, and to demand the immediate release if he is innocent. It is imperative that there be a follow up especially as Jurists have written numerous publications on this subject.

Finally, Sawasya Center calls on the United Nations and the international and human rights organizations to urge the Swiss government to end the injustice against the Egyptian citizen who was arrested simply for voicing his opinion in an article without having committed any crime punishable by law.

Intervening is crucial, to indicate that the detaining of individuals must not be a pretext for the ruling regimes both in Arab and Western countries where the arrests take place solely for the expressing of opinions of anti-discrimination and anti-racism.