This report is based on over two dozen interviews with former SSI detainees, detainees relatives, detainees attorneys, journalists who investigated the detainees arrests, and other attorneys who regularly handle cases of persons held in SSI detention. Interviews were conducted by Human Rights Watch in Cairo in June and July 2007, and were supplemented by follow-up research in August and September 2007. All interviews were conducted in private, primarily in Arabic.
Most of the released detainees in the so-called Victorious Sect were unwilling to speak in depth with Human Rights Watch about their experiences, indicating a fear of re-arrest or other harassment from Egyptian authorities should they speak openly. However, as noted above, Human Rights Watch interviewed other former prisoners who were held for considerable periods with the 22 detainees; we also interviewed the attorneys for the 22 men, who saw them during legal proceedings, and several family members who visited the men. In addition, in late 2007 one released detainee from the alleged group provided an account to Human Rights Watch of his and other detainees arrests and detention.
Several persons interviewed for this report, including former detainees, human rights workers, and attorneys, asked Human Rights Watch not to reveal their names out of fear that the Egyptian authorities would target them for arrest or interrogation. In such cases, Human Rights Watch has substituted interviewees names with initials (for instance, J.K.) that do not correspond to the interviewees real names.