Germany investigates disappeared citizens in Egypt

Two German nationals have disappeared in Egypt, one after encountering authorities at Cairo airport. The German government said it had been investigating the “separate cases” for days now.

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday said two German men with dual citizenship have disappeared in Egypt.

“There are two separate cases of German citizens who have been reported missing,” said a ministry spokesman. “We have been dealing with them for a few days now and we are taking both cases very seriously.”

One of the men, an 18-year-old from the central city of Giessen, is believed to have disappeared before he was scheduled to take a domestic flight from Luxor to Cairo, according to his father.

“It has been three weeks and there is no trace,” the man’s father told German news agency dpa. “Nobody knows if he is still alive.”

The other man, a 23-year-old from Göttingen, was detained at Cairo airport while attempting to enter the country. His current location is unclear, but dpa reported that he may be held in “the headquarters of the intelligence agency,” citing contacts on the ground.

‘Abusive practice’

It is unclear if the German men, who both have Egyptian citizenship, had a history of working on human rights issues. However, human rights groups frequently criticize Egypt for disappearing those working on rights in the country.

Since October, at least 40 human rights workers, lawyers and activists have been arrested or disappeared, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“The Egyptian security agencies’ repression now extends to disappearing those brave men and women who have been trying to protect the disappeared and to end this abusive practice,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at HRW, in November.

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