According to Article 99 of Egypt's 2014 Constitution:
Any assault on the personal freedoms or sanctity of the life of citizens, along with other general rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the law, is a crime with no statute of limitations for both civil and criminal proceedings. The injured party may file a criminal suit directly.
Article 51 states that: "Dignity is a right for every person that may not be infringed upon. The state shall respect, guarantee and protect it." Article 52 provides that: "All forms of torture are a crime with no statute of limitations."
Under Article 73:
Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, marches, demonstrations and all forms of peaceful protest, while not carrying weapons of any type, upon providing notification as regulated by law.
The right to peaceful, private meetings is guaranteed, without the need for prior notification. Security forces may not attend, monitor or eavesdrop on such gatherings.
Article 206 provides, with respect to the police, that:
The police force is a statutory civil body that is in the service of the people. Its loyalty is to the people. It ensures safety and security to citizens, preserves public order and morality. It is committed to undertake the duties imposed on it by the Constitution and the law, and to respect human rights and basic rights. The state guarantees that members of the police force perform their duties. Guarantees for that are organized by law.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Signatory|
|1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights||State Party|
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court||Signatory|
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions||No|
|Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights||Not party|
|2004 Arab Charter on Human Rights||Signatory|
Police Use of Force
There are a range of legal provisions governing police use of force in Egypt. Article 126 of the 1937 Criminal Code of Egypt provides that:
Any public official/civil servant or public employee who orders torturing a suspect or does the torturing personally, in order to force him/her to confess shall be punished with hard labour, or imprisonment for a period of three to ten years. If the tortured victim dies, the penalty as prescribed for deliberate murder shall be inflicted.
Article 129 stipulates that:
Any public official or employee/civil servant or any person charged with performing a public service who, employs cruelty with people, depending on his position, such that he/she commits a breach of their honor, or incurs bodily pains to them, shall be punished with a detention for a period not exceeding one year or paying a fine not exceeding three hundred pounds.
Rules on the use of firearms are extremely permissive and do not comply with international law. Article 102 of the 1971 Police ActLaw 109 of 1971 as amended.stipulates that firearms can only be used when strictly necessary to achieve a legitimate aim and such use is proportionate to the aim. It explicitly permits police officers to use firearms, however, to apprehend a convicted or accused and wanted individual if they resist arrest and if their conviction or accusation can lead to a prison term exceeding three months. It also permits police officers to use firearms when they are guarding prisoners or to disperse gatherings or demonstrations of at least five people when public order is under threat and after warning the protesters to disperse.
A 1964 decree stipulates that in dispersing public gatherings or demonstrations of more than five people that endanger “public security”, the following must be applied:
(a) The head of the security operation must provide audible verbal warnings to the gathering or the protesters ordering them to disperse giving them appropriate time to do so, and showing them the directions/roads they should take, warning them that he will be obliged to fire on them if they do not submit to such an order. The warning must be made in a way that is audible and by a means that allows it to reach protesters or the gatherings and to facilitate means for their dispersal within the time given.
(b) If demonstrators refuse to disperse in spite of the warning and after the time given to them has elapsed, the force is allowed to fire at them, in an intermittent manner, to allow them to disperse.
(c) When firing, shotguns with small pellets must be used first. If this did not succeed in dispersing the crowds, firearms with live ammunition should be used; then automatic rifles if needed.Art. 1(3) Decree 156 of 1964.
Egypt's draconian anti-terrorism law (Law No 94 of 2015) specifies in its Article 8 that: "Enforcers of the provisions of this Law shall not be held criminally accountable if they use force to perform their duties or protect themselves from imminent danger to lives or properties, when the use of this right is necessary and adequate to avert the risk."
In 2020, Egypt claimed that:
With regard to the rules and regulations that govern the use of force and firearms by law enforcement, those agencies adhere to international standards for rules of engagement and the use of force when in pursuit of suspected criminals. The Ministry of the Interior has put in place a package of measures in this regard. They include the adoption of an incremental approach to law enforcement.
The High Commission on Human Rights, which was established by Ministry of Interior Decree 22562 of 2001, has representatives of the command structures of all the security and police bodies of the Ministry among its members. The commission is responible for identifying "the means of preserving human rights in the interaction and behaviour of the different agencies of the ministry and the population".
In 2018, the Ministry of Interior announced that every police department in Egypt would be provided with a “human rights police officer” who will be assigned to help citizens if they face problems inside a police department.
There have been no Concluding Observations on police use of force in recent years by United Nations treaty bodies.
In 2014, which was Egypt’s most recent Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council, numerous stakeholders, in particular expert non-governmental organisations, claimed that widespread arbitrary killings had been conducted in recent years by the security forces and that the practice of torture was endemic.
The United States Department of State's report on human rights in Egypt for 2017 noted
numerous reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including incidents that occurred while making arrests or holding persons in custody, during disputes with civilians, or while dispersing demonstrations. There were also reports of civilians killed during military operations in Sinai. Impunity was a problem.
Egypt's periodic report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights for 2001-2017 was submitted in 2018. No concluding observations were issued on the report.
In 2020, in its fifth periodic report on implementation of the ICCPR, Egypt stated in relation to police torture that:
Egypt is aware that certain isolated instances of this practice may occur on its territory. However, these are exceptions to the general prohibition of this crime. Such violations do not in any way reflect the Government’s policy or its stance against it. That is attested to by the many criminal investigations and trials of police officers conducted from the beginning of 2014 to 10 April 2019, which have included the following: 30 incidents of torture, 66 incidents of coercion, and 215 incidents of ill-treatment. Criminal investigations and prosecutions have resulted in 70 convictions, 156 discontinuances and 85 cases still ongoing. During that same period, disciplinary hearings were conducted against police officers for practices that did not rise to the level of torture and other types of ill-treatment, or hearings following criminal convictions. There were 344 such hearings resulting in 207 disciplinary actions.