File- State Information Service reveals 'flawed methodology' in HRW report on Sinai
CAIRO – 3 June 2019: The State Information Service (SIS) has issued a detailed report responding to “false allegations” made in a report released by Human Rights Watch on May 28 on the situation in Sinai, claiming abuses committed by the army amid its war on terrorism.
HRW’s report has attracted several negative comments from experts who deemed it “unreasonable and unfounded,” accusing HRW of making allegations against Egyptian army and police forces, without giving concrete evidence for them, besides, narrating one-sided opinion of the events.
The SIS explained that HRW cited sources that are either supporting the designated terrorist group the Brotherhood, or organizations that are in a state of enmity with Egypt.
Chairman of Al-Wafd Party Bahaa al-Din Abu Shoka said “a move is a must against such organizations that seek through their fake reports to destabilize communities and spread chaos in Egypt.”
Security expert Mohamed Attiya told Egypt Today the HRW report exposed bad intentions within the human rights organization to defame Egypt, claiming that these organizations receive funds from countries that seek to destabilize Egypt.
Over the past five years, HRW’s reports on the situation in Egypt and specifically in Sinai depended on sources provided by the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the below lines, Egypt Today publishes the SIS report, which details the “biased and flawed” methodology upon which the HRW relied on in its report.
Once again Human Rights Watch circulates lies regarding the human rights situation in Egypt. This comes in a long pattern of false information HRW has attributed to the situation in Egypt, as in September 2017 HRW issued a report alleging 19 cases of torture in Egyptian prisons without providing any real evidence, this despite numerous calls we made on HRW to submit such any actual evidence they have to the Egyptian Public Prosecutors office which in turn investigated those allegations and found that they were not true after a lengthy probe. Then in 2018 Human Rights Watch issued a variety of unfounded statements and report on the situation in Egypt including one on Khaled Hassan (a defendant being prosecuted for his affiliation with Wilayat Sina’a an affiliate of ISIS) whom they claimed was subjected to enforced disappearance and torture only to find out later that their claims carried no veracity whatsoever.
HRW remain faithful to its foul habits regarding its questionable coverage of Egypt and presented us with another report on May 28th, 2019 regarding the situation in Northern Sinai. The latest report carried a multitude of false allegations and it was based on sources lacking any credibility as they were mainly based on entities that are in a state of constant enmity with the Egyptian State.
The content of the report included many alleged cases that are entirely unsupported by any real evidence, as if this report was meant to only be read by amateurs.
Therefor the Human Rights Unit of the State Information Service prepared this detailed comprehensive response to the report which asses and evaluates the allegations made by HRW.
A Flawed & Biased Methodology
1) The Interviews: The report claimed that 54 interview were conducted with local residents from the Sinai without clarifying many essential information to validate their truthfulness
a. HRW claimed it has conducted the interviews they used in creating this report with local residents of the Sinai in Egypt and abroad however HRW kept the identity of interviewees anonymous. SIS would like to inquire upon the reasons HRW did not reveal the identity of the alleged Sinai locals residing abroad despite the fact that they are probably residing in countries where they enjoy ample protection, and this is rather amazing as it calls the veracity of the main sources HRW has utilised into serious question.
b. HRW’s report kept the identity of those who conducted the 54
interviews unknown except for Amr Magdi and two nameless consultants. The report did not specify who conducted the interview in and out of Egypt either.
c. HRW’s report almost does not point to any interviews that were conducted with any official, quasi-official or even a pro government source in or out of Egypt. HRW does not mention as well any attempts to request meetings, interviews or comments from the Egyptian governments embassies and Media offices abroad.
d. HRW did not specify either the methods by which it conducted the
interviews in and out of Egypt, and this shows the pre-planned nature of the findings they made in their report.
e. There are citations in HRW’s report of text messages used for interviews, and astonishingly enough not one image or screenshot of such texts were included in the report.
f. Despite the fact that the report included a very few quotes from some individuals that have objective views on the situation in the Sinai it did not point out to any attempts by the lead researcher (Amr Magdi) to verify the allegations made in the report through seeking the
perspective of the aforementioned individuals during international human rights events that both have attended the last of which was the
40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva
Switzerland which took place throughout March 2019.
g. HRW did not provide any documentation of the 54 interviews in the report, so does it prefer to gather information orally as in many cases in previous HRW reports on Egypt.
2) Medical and legal documents:
HRW’s report claims that the researchers who authored it reviewed medical and legal documents however serious questions arise after reviewing the actual report, its cited sources and appendix.
a. In a previous 63-page report which was published on September 6th
2017 HRW made allegations regarding the testimonies of 19 alleged victims of torture and the family of a prisoner. HRW claimed it had documents to verify these cases however when SIS requested that they provide such evidence to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor who opened a legal investigation into the matter they did not comply and they failed to provide a single piece of paper despite the prosecution’s probe into the cases. HRW repeated the same strange behaviour in the case of Khaled Hassan, a defendant indicted by the authorities for his affiliation with the Wilayat Sina’a terrorist organization which an affiliate of ISIS.
b. In HRW’s latest report on the Situation in the Sinai there is a huge discrepancy between the sheer amount of allegations it has made and the absent documents that should verify it as HRW failed to provide any such documents in the report.
c. In HRW’s latest report just like in its previous ones, the entities and individuals who examine and create legal and medical documents remain anonymous. HRW in the past spoke of “independent forensic experts” who supposedly examined Khaled Hassan; the identity of those so called experts remained unannounced, so were their nationalities, entities the work for and their political backgrounds. It’s not clear either whether they worked for HRW or not. In HRW’s report on the Sinai there are only references to Amr Magdi, an unnamed researcher and a nameless intern. The report did not explain who these people are and whether they had the necessary expertise in forensic medicine and law to be eligible to review medical and legal documents that supposedly verify dangerous accusations HRW markets against Egypt.