App launches in Egypt to combat forced disappearances

Digital Content

Disguised as a calculator on smartphone screens, I Protect alerts contacts and a local human rights group if the user is arrested

For Egyptians, the risk of being snatched from the street and forcibly disappeared by the country’s security forces has never been greater.

In the first eight months of 2015, 1,250 people disappeared, according to a report by the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF).

In response, the organisation has created I Protect, an app that allows Android phone users to key in a code when they are being detained, which sends three text messages to contacts and an email containing the location of their arrest to the ECRF.

The group hopes the messages will aid a quick reaction during the first 24 hours of an arrest, key to stopping people being transferred from a police station to a larger facility, making them harder to find.

Mohammed Lotfy, executive director of ECRF, said: “Being able to speak out about the arrest of an activist or protestor in the first hours contributes to the person’s transfer from police to prosecution during the legal time from of 24 hours.

“This prevents their detention incommunicado, or worse their forced disappearance, and therefore reduces the risks of being subjected to torture or other ill treatment.” Read the full article in The Guardian here: