“Dual Punishment: Police probation punishment in Egypt, enforcing it on political opposition and associated violations”
For a long time, police probation has increasingly been applied on regular criminals to later include political activists arrested and sentenced to prison in protesting, mobbing, and bullying cases. Those who were sentenced to police probation have to spend a period that doesn’t exceed five years after completing their prison term; a punishment that has been enforced on a number of opponents with different political affiliations. According to this penalty, individuals under police probation must spend the assigned probation hours from 6 pm until 6 am the following day at the police station which deprives the probationer of almost all his day.
Examining the conditions of probation, it is found that the arbitrary enforcement and interpretation of this penalty gives the executive excessive powers. The ministry of interior is legally authorized to determine measures of probation without any judiciary oversight, and this leads to the primacy of security measures which dictates further restrictions and excessive arbitrary measures that violates the rights of the probationer to a just punishment; a situation that hinders the reintegration of the probationer into the society
This clearly appears in the violations that criminal and political probationers face during police surveillance. These violations include the coercion to spend probation in the police station, violating the right a humane probation space, forcing the probationer to commit to extrajudicial work such as cleaning work, smashing, moving wastes, and serving police officers with no monetary reward, restricting the probationer’s right to work, the threat of renewed detention, violating the right to travel inside the country, restricting one’s right to education and reading, banning communication with the outside world, and restricting ones right to political activism.
Building on the above, the Egyptian Front offers these police recommendations to the authorities:
- We demand that the Ministry of Interior decrease the arbitrary procedures that accompany the implementation of the probation and to humanize the penalty by increasingly applying it within the home and pardoning cases, as per article 8 in law no. 99 for the year 1945. We also demand that the monitored person’s rights are respected, that his complaints are seriously investigated, and that the constant threats of re-imprisonment end.
- We ask the Egyptian parliament to reconsider the legal implications of the police probation law and the authority it grants the MOI in implementing the punishment. We request that parliamentarians develop different procedures that guarantee that the philosophy of the law itself is attained, through electronic surveillance, judicial examination, and labor that benefits the public. In addition, we ask that the parliamentarians re-examine the wording of the law in order to ensure that it will not be misused politically to harass members of the opposition.
- We recommend that the judicial authorities put an end to charging opposition figures on the backdrop of their political activism, to subjecting them to police probation as a form of intimidation and as a show of strength. In addition, we demand judicial supervision over places of detention, including the probation area, as well assurance that the MOI will not arbitrarily demand probations or refrain from issuing pardons. Finally, those who violate the rights of the probationer must be held accountable.
- We urge the National Council for Human Rights to do its part, along with other civil society organizations, to watch over the implementation of the penalty and all of the violations that take place against those who are under police probation.