Press Release regarding the closure of El Nadeem Center
First we would like to confirm that the center has not yet been closed.
Yesterday, the 17th of February 2016 about 4 p.m. three men came to the center from the Azbakeyya District authority, two police sergeants and one architect. Dr. Mona Hamed, director of the clinic, received them. They asked her to leave the flat since they have an order of closure. They had a document signed by the director of the private health sector addressed to the head of the Azbakeyya district ordering the closure of the center based on a decision signed on the 8th of February “for breaching license conditions” stamped by the Cairo district on the 15th of February 2016, and an administrative closing order (35/2016) in accordance with law 453/1954.
Since our lawyer Mr. Taher Abulnasr was present he negotiated with the Azbakeya district delegation to postpone the execution of the order until we visit the Ministry of Health to inquire about the “breaches” that necessitate the closure of the center. We shall visit the ministry on Sunday.
We wish to note that this is not the first time the center is visited by a delegation from the private sector department. The same thing happened in 2004 when we were inspected by the ministry who then reported that we are not a clinic, we treat “black” people, have human rights books and a fax machine. We were summoned to the prosecution and gave our statement as well as filed a complaint regarding the violation of the privacy of a clinic and intimidating our patients. The matter was settled then and the case closed.
Furthermore, three weeks ago the center was visited by an employee at the ministry of health, who came to inspect the center based on an order, given by phone, from the minister of health himself, to check the activity of the center. She did not have official papers. Still she inspected the clinic and took a copy of our license, and did not make any comments regarding any breaches. Since then we did not hear from the ministry except this order of closure. Had their been violations, the ministry should have written to us giving us an ultimatum to correct the breach. It didn’t.
It is also worth mentioning that the law by which our closure is ordered is law 453/2016, which concerns industrial and commercial shops, including more than 300 categories, not including clinics. All the same, we did not commit any of the breaches mentioned in that law.
Although we shall know the details behind this decision on Sunday when we visit the ministry of health, we believe that this attempt at closing the center is part of the security policy, which, according to one official, seeks to close any space for breathing of activists, a matter that has been confirmed by the report published by Reuters, quoting a security source.
We are not better than all those held in prisons for false charges or who endure unlimited pretrial detention, or those who have been banned from travel or held in airports or had their passports withdrawn. Nor are we better than those organizations that have been closed or threatened by closure in an era where freedom has become a rare commodity and injustice has taken over. It is a crisis for all those who believed, and still believe and live by the slogans of the January revolution calling for Bread, Freedom, Social Justice and Human Dignity for all.
Last but not least we wish to thank all those who expressed their solidarity with us and our center, foremost survivors of torture who sought our help and taught us much about patience, endurance, will, resilience and love of life.
El Nadeem Center is not a place that can be waxed shut. El Nadim is a team committed to combating violence, torture and injustice and struggling for the provision of medical and health care to those who are deprived of their freedom in places of detention.
El Nadeem will continue supporting the oppressed and fight against torture and violence. In that sense El Nadim will always remain open.
El Nadeem Team