Online Event SUNDAY,  26 JULY  2020 AT 1 PM – 4 PM EDT

What are the links between torture, forced disappearances and anti-carceral politics?
The Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition brings activists and lawyers to discuss the links of torture and disappearances in prison abolition from their perspectives on politics in and of Egypt, Kashmir and Xinjiang.

July 26, 2020
Egypt (EET), Germany (CEST) 7.00pm, India 10.30pm
USA 1pm EST/10am PST
Hong Kong, 1am (on July 27)


Abduction and enforced disappearance have been increasingly used by oppressive regimes globally. Torture and enforced disappearances have been a structural problem of state punishment and repression rather than being exceptional instances of it. Used by colonial powers and liberal democracies these techniques have been widely shared and circulated between states as modes of extracting confessions. In many of these cases, people have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, detentions without a warrant, and sexual violence. This strategy has been frequently used in places like Argentina, China, Egypt, Kashmir, and Turkey. The speakers speak to these questions from their perspectives on politics in and of Egypt, Kashmir and Xinjiang.


Ahmed Said is an Egyptian anti-authoritarian leftist, a human rights advocate, a poet, a writer and a consultant surgeon. He was also a former prisoner himself a few years back, where he spent one year in maximum security prison following enforced disappearance and torture. Currently, he is a member of the Bundestag Program “Parlamentarian protect Parlamentarian” and the coordinator for the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms in Germany. This is in addition to his role as coordinator and producer in MENA Prison Forum initiative as well as the cofounder and executive manager of Open Data Bank.

Vincent Wong is a human rights lawyer and a member of the Lausan Collective. He also works as a Research Associate at the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in the areas of migrant rights, legality of tear gas, and media freedom.

Ather Zia is a poet and a political anthropologist. Ather teaches Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley and has recently authored of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women’s activism in Kashmir.She is the founder and editor of Kashmir Lit and co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective. Her research interests focus on military occupation, human rights, armed conflict, resistance, settler colonialism, gender, Muslim women, and Islam.

Moderator: Swati Birla is a member of the Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition, Sanhati collective and Revive the Peace Movement Network. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at UMass Amherst. Her dissertation monograph “The past is a foreign country” connects the histories of partition in the South Asian subcontinent with the violence perpetrated against Dalits (lower castes) and Muslims in contemporary India.