Several activists and psychiatrists working on missing persons cases say it is a double punishment for the detainees and the families. In the case of torture, for instance, the victims are denied the ability to adapt to the violence because they usually don't know the reason for their ordeal. The same applies to the family.
"Forced disappearances are worse than murder, because families are deprived from their right to know and to grieve," said Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Sometimes, he said, families feel that even if their children are dead, they are better off knowing the truth.
It's a dilemma. Families "are afraid to let go of the hope because maybe (their son or daughter is) out there somewhere and they would be letting (them) down if they stopped looking," said Yousri. "It's really a circle of frustration and anger and depression."
Many of the missing were the main providers for their families. To search in prisons scattered across the country is costly, increasing the families' financial burdens.
For many, such as Siddiq's family, the search in morgues continues.
"For my son not to come back ... of course, it's taking its toll on all of us. He's my only son. I need him," says Siddiq, pausing repeatedly to hold back the tears. Mohamed's picture is placed on the partition separating his small bedroom from the living room.
Like Taha, she is frustrated with Egypt's first elected president. She had hoped he would bring about substantial change and find her son. "Isn't the government supposed to bring me back my son? Who's responsible for this country? Dr. Morsy, right? He's supposed to find where my son is."
Morsy pardoned all political prisoners on Monday, but that leaves the missing file unresolved. Activists suspect that those supposedly held in prison are without proper documentation.
Lawyer Ahmed Seif El-Islam, a member of an official committee set up by Morsy to look into prisoners, said in August that there are "private prisons" associated with certain security agencies and outside the inspection jurisdiction of the prosecutor. Secret detention facilities in existing prisons, as alleged by some former prisoners, would be even more difficult to pin down, he says.
Taha, however, remains hopeful. "We must have hope because of the blood of the martyrs, the pain of the injured, the deprivation of the detainees, the injustice dealt to the revolutionaries. These things should inspire hope and push us forward and not look back," he says.
He was able to get a reversal of a decree expelling him from school for missing a year and is now working on a campaign against torture and the detention of students.
"We can face any oppressor or corrupt regime until we find the Egypt that we want, that we dream of," he says. "We will continue to the last breath."
- New TV channel run by fully veiled women