UN concerned about the legality of detentions

By Nourhan Dakroury

United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay met with the Egyptian ambassador in Geneva on 10 July to discuss the UN’s position on the situation in Egypt.

A press briefing by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) reported on Friday that Pillay requested a list with the names of the people against whom arrest warrants had been issued and detailing the number of those detained in connection to the events on and after 3 July.

Pillay also requested additional information about the legal basis for the warrants, as well as the total count of those being detained in connection to the events and confirmation of whether or not each detention was connected to an arrest warrant.

The commissioner also requested information about the legality of the arrest and detention of former president Mohamed Morsi and his presidential team, as well as information about the commission formed to investigate the killings at the Republican Guard headquarters on 8 July.

The briefing said that a written note verbale was passed to the Egyptian government with these requests.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the commissioner, stressed the importance of the requests given the high number of those involved, adding that the government still has not replied to them.

“We’re not complaining; we understand that there is a lot going on right now,” he said, acknowledging the changing situation in the country, but empahsised the UN’s “globally recognised authority” and added that the government “cannot ignore” its requests.

The briefing also mentioned Pillay’s request to Egyptian authorities to deploy a UN team to Egypt to monitor developments.

Colville said that Egyptian authorities are yet to approve of such an envoy, explaining that the request had only been issued verbally and that the OHCHR are waiting on government approval before any further negotiation.

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