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A report-complaint against the smuggling of migrants in the Sinai (Egypt)

Friday, 06 January 2012 02:49 EveryOne Group
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A report-complaint against the smuggling of migrants in the Sinai (Egypt)

by EveryOne Group


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres 

UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons Joy Ngozi Ezeilo

President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buziek

Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg

President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso

Vice-president and high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Margaret Ashton

OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland

President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy

Egypt Embassy to Vatican

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Palestinian National Authority

International Criminal Court

Civil Society


A network of robbers linked to international organized crime. The names of the most dangerous traffickers and their links with armed struggle organizations.

An appeal to the governments of the Republic of Egypt, the Palestinian territories, the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the authorities of Israel, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Tunisia, and those of Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and countries outside Europe where there are links with the criminal trade underway in Northern Sinai.

Rome, January 4th, 2012. EveryOne Group is continuing its campaign against the trafficking of sub-Saharan migrants and human organs in the Sinai, a criminal phenomenon that has continued for many years without the authorities of the Republic of Egypt or the institutions of the Palestinian territories doing anything to block it, despite being aware of the identity and location of the traffickers' hideouts. Before the long international campaign that EveryOne Group is conducting (alongside other organizations for the rights of refugees and the fight against people trafficking) this trafficking in Sinai was ignored by the press and both the local and international authorities.

Today, however, this terrible phenomenon has become public domain. The United Nations, the European Union and the mainstream media of the civilized world have taken notice of the horrors taking place in the Sinai: the kidnappings, the heavy extortion, murders, kidney transplants, cases of torture and rape. However, if this information regarding the plight of migrants in the Sinai dries up, this odious trafficking will continue to be carried out along with the general indifference of the world. We must therefore increase our efforts and transform our anger into civil actions, because the world must stand up and refuse to allow these crimes against humanity to take place.

With this fresh report, EveryOne Group is reporting once again the authors of some of the most heinous crimes that have ever been committed by human beings. The complaint will be forwarded to the Egyptian authorities, the authorities of the Palestinian territories, and the authorities of Israel, Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia and Eritrea. All these countries have a role in the phenomenon of trafficking of migrants and organs. It starts out in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, where gangs of Rashaida Bedouins promise a better life to young Eritreans at risk of persecution or forced conscription. Once the migrants agree to leave for Israel, the trap is sprung. As well as the Rashaida gangs, other gangs are managing the trafficking among the Bedouins of the Sinai. These gangs also use Eritrean, Ethiopian and Sudanese accomplices who communicate with the prisoners and ensure that they ask the family for their ransom money without providing any other information. Some head-traffickers hold Eritrean women prisoner, as wives or concubines, as well as young slaves who have been unable to pay the ransom. Young sub-Saharan women are also sent to work as prostitutes in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, where in recent years the trafficking of women has become particularly well-established yet ignored by the international authorities:


To effectively combat trafficking in human beings, we must understand its structure and dynamics. Thanks to witness accounts from refugees, NGOs and human rights defenders are in possession of the names of traffickers, who are members of Palestinian terrorist groups. Jihadist fundamentalism is self-financed by criminal activity. Not surprisingly, jihadist leaders are also members of the Arab-Mafia. Weapons, drugs, prostitution, the slave trade and trade in human organs are sources for funding of the terrorists who have adopted the motto that "the end justifies the means". They work alongside the world's criminal organizations.

The paramilitary political organizations work just like the Mafia, making use of cells around the world. Not surprisingly, relatives of prisoners in the Sinai do not only send their payments to Egypt, Israel, Ethiopia and Sudan, but also to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and in Europe (Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Sweden). This movement hiding behind pseudo-political ideologies is called  the "Arab Mafia" by some analysts. Fundamentalism and armed gangs work together and make the international trafficking of human beings, organs, drugs and weapons the foundation of their criminal activities.

To combat armed fundamentalism, we must fight the Mafia, to which it belongs. Money gives power to the criminals and, consequently, the fundamentalists (like the Mafia) always have more political weight. The reason Egypt is not able to eradicate the trafficking is the economic and political power of these armed movements. It is the same reason the Italian authorities, for example, cannot defeat the Mafia or even reduce its turnover. To get some results, they should fight the corruption of the authorities and then make use of collaborators of justice and private citizens who report - for a reward - the movement of human traffickers with their victims. It is important to keep in mind the links between organized crime and politics:



Sinai, an almost lawless land, is the base of religious and political movements of armed struggle (from Egyptian Islamic Jihad to Hamas), and the traffickers in human beings and organs provide the means of financing these movements:


In Rafah, Al-Gorah, al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and other cities in the Sinai, Palestinian smugglers operate through the tunnels between the Egyptian and Palestinian sides of Rafah, along the "Philadelphia corridor". These are the barons of weapons, migrants and human organs trafficking. These powerful criminals have possessions in the Egyptian Sinai and in the Palestinian territories, where they move about freely, making use of the workers who until a few years ago worked in the transport of goods through the tunnels, but who in recent years have lost their jobs after Israel granted the free import of many goods:


The head-traffickers control most of the 1,000 still active tunnels between Rafah and Palestine. The entrances to the tunnels are often within fenced-in Bedouin properties bordered by orchards. After the fall of Mubarak, the traffickers have had even more freedom in the Sinai:


As well as being an important base for Hamas and other organizations of armed struggle, Arish, the capital of the North Sinai Governorate, is a stronghold of Arab and international organized crime:


Recently, thanks to the campaign against the trafficking in Sinai carried out by EveryOne Group, the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights, ICER and other NGOs, as well as CNN's important contribution with the "Freedom Project" (a key event in the fight against the trafficking of migrants and human organs), several traffickers have spontaneously released hundreds of sub-Saharan refugees:


In addition, Bedouin members of the Al-Tiaha tribe clashed with a gang of traffickers from the Nakhalwa tribe and liberated a large group of hostages, most of them Eritreans. Many traffickers and some of the prisoners were killed in the crossfire:



At the same time, thanks to an initiative by the Salafi groups in Sinai, small Bedouin security forces have been seen in Northern Sinai collaborating with the police. According to the activist Hamdy al-Azazy, president of the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights and observer for Everyone Group, the Bedouin tribes of Sinai are in the process of reaching an agreement to fight the trafficking in human beings and organs alongside the police, and go after the major Palestinian traffickers: Abu Abdullah, Abu Mahmoud, Abu Musa, Abu Khaled, Abu Ahmed and others:


The situation in Arish, controlled by trafficking members of the  armed struggle movements, is well described in an article published in the Daily News Egypt:


With regard to the identities of the traffickers, EveryOne Group has reported them to local and international authorities. In this report we have added some details that may be useful in ensuring their arrest, not only in the Sinai but also in the Palestinian territories

- Abu Abdullah is about 35 years old. He wears a beard, has a large family and several Eritrean concubines. He is one of the most violent traffickers, responsible for numerous murders, mutilations and torture. Sadistic with young prisoners, he is a rapist, and often carries out the most brutal crimes himself:


He is very powerful in the Sinai and is well-known in the Palestinian territories where he is one of the leaders of Hamas, as well as a trafficker that Hamas has entrusted with controlling  some of the main tunnels. We must point out that Hamas has full control of the network of tunnels that link the two sides of Rafah:





- Abu Mahmoud is also a Hamas man, and he too controls several of the tunnels:


- The same goes for Abu Khaled, who declared his belonging to Hamas in an interview with The Telegraph:




- Abu Ahmed is a Palestinian Bedouin, considered a Hamas activist, who works between the Palestinian territories and Northern Sinai. He is a member of the notorious Sawarka family of traffickers:




Recently, another member of the Sawarka family freed, on his own initiative, 32 young Eritreans hostages, enabling them to reach Israel. The trafficker agreed with the leaders of the Bedouin tribes of Sinai to put a stop to trafficking in human beings and organs:


- Abu Musa is another dangerous criminal who operates mainly in Southern Sinai. We have already provided his details and the location of his hideout to the authorities:




With this report, EveryOne Group is appealing to the Egyptian Government and the Palestinian authorities to undertake investigations aimed at dismantling the hideouts of these traffickers, and to free the hostages, granting them the right to international protection, in consultation with UNHCR, as refugees and victims of trafficking. We are asking them to prosecute the leaders of the people and organ trafficking, their collaborators, and the criminal network that works directly or indirectly with them through collusion, bribery, corruption, and contact with the organized crime groups linked to these terrible acts against humanity. At the same time, EveryOne Group is appealing to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in The Hague to prosecute - according to the authority granted to those organizations - the abductions, murders, episodes of torture and rape, extortion, and the illegal removal of kidneys and other organs that has been going on, unpunished, for years in the Sinai. Finally, EveryOne Group, which is based in Italy, has appealed for help to the governments of Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Tunisia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and those countries outside Europe that have links with the trafficking in Northern Sinai, particularly regarding the deposits - through money transfer agencies or bank accounts - of the ransoms paid by the families of prisoners being held hostage.

Awaiting an answer and a promise of urgent action aimed at combating the phenomenon of criminal trafficking in the Sinai, we send you our best regards.

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau - co-presidents of EveryOne Group