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Thursday, January 29, 2009

DR FA Ganchi


Dr. F. A. Ganchi (my client) was detained by Egyptian Authorities on Friday 23rd January 2009 until Monday 26th January 2009 and was returned back to South Africa on Tuesday 27th January 2009.

My client had obtained the necessary authority to travel with the Gift of the Givers Mission to Gaza, and endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa. My client was previously arrested in Pakistan and released without charge and this fact was known to all who were part of the mission and who had endorsed same also. My client successfully applied for the necessary visa permitting him to enter Egypt and a valid copy of the visa remains in his passport.

My client wishes to apologize to the remaining members of the mission, who travelled to Gaza for the purposes of rendering humanitarian assistance, to the extent that they were in any way compromised, prejudiced or delayed in their effort. My client appreciates the fact that the Mission and all its members stood by him during this time. My client also regrets that he was not an active participant in the planned humanitarian work intended to be performed in Gaza, but remains hopeful that there will be other opportunities for same. Despite my client’s efforts and those of the South African Government, my client still does not know the reason/s for his detention and his return to South Africa.

On departure from O. R. Tambo International Airport my client was briefly held back but was subsequently cleared to travel. My client was similarly held back for a short while at the Cairo Airport but was subsequently cleared to proceed to Rafah without any questioning. My client subsequently passed numerous checkpoints between Cairo and Rafah without difficulty. Whilst offloading the vehicle at Rafah my client was summoned by 2 (two) intelligence agents who advised him that they were conducting a routine check on him and subsequently changed this to a problem with my client’s passport. My client requested these individuals to clarify any complications with the South African Embassy. My client was thereafter summoned to collect his luggage and was driven to an unknown venue where he was handcuffed to a bench for approximately 5 (five) hours. My client repeatedly made demands to ascertain why he was being detained and was provided with no answers whatsoever. My client was forced to spend the entire night handcuffed to a bench. My client was advised by a junior officer that he was to be returned to Cairo shortly. On Saturday 24th January 2009 my client was transported in the back of a police truck to Cairo. The journey was approximately 12 (twelve) hours in length with no provisions provided to client. Client was blindfolded and handcuffed and the blindfold and handcuffs were only removed upon his departure at 23h30 on the 26th January 2009. My client accepts that he was taken to Cairo, yet has no actual knowledge that this was infact the case. On arrival at Cairo my client was stripped and searched and interrogated about his travels to Pakistan previously till the early part of Sunday morning. No provision was made for client to sleep and he was forced to sleep in the corridor of what he believes to have been an intelligence holding/interrogation facility. The facility in which client was detained was not clean, crowded and smelt like a mortuary. Client repeatedly heard the sounds of the administration of electric shocks and painful human screams immediately thereafter. The facility was so crowded that whilst being moved around in the corridors, client would inevitably trample on other people who were being held at the same facility. On Sunday 25th January 2009 client was moved internally to an isolation facility, still handcuffed and blindfolded. Client was then interrogated again during the course of Monday afternoon, with no real purpose in the questioning. Late on Monday evening client was transported to the airport in Cairo and his blindfold and handcuffs was removed approximately 5 (five) minutes prior to arrival at the airport. My client arrived at O. R. Tambo International Airport on Tuesday 27th January 2009.

My client, as you can well imagine is hugely disappointed by not having been able to actively participate in the humanitarian work, for which the mission was planned by Gift of the Givers, a reputable aid organization with a proven track record but remains hopeful that he will be able to assist in other areas where such aid is needed in the future.

My client is further hugely disappointed by the actions of the Egyptian Authorities but remains hopeful that they will see the error in their ways. My client is grateful to the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, both locally and in Egypt, who assisted tremendously in this time of need. My client is grateful to all of those people who prayed and showed support for him and his family during this time.

Finally, my client read with disappointment, the various newspaper articles that appeared in the written press after his return to South Africa, the reference to his previous detention in Pakistan during 2004. The fact of that matter is simply that my client was released without being charged despite having being interrogated for a period of 5 (five) months by South African, Pakistani and American Intelligence.



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