Saturday, February 19, 2011

Many protesters involved in protests in Egypt were tortured in detention

17 February 2011 Amnesty International

Amnesty International has today urged the Egyptian military to take action
to stop the use of torture and other ill treatment against detainees, amid
fresh evidence of abuse.

The call comes as former detainees have told Amnesty International they
were tortured, including by whipping and with electric shocks, after being
detained by members of the military in the last days before President
Mubarak stood down.

“The Egyptian military authorities have committed publicly to creating a
climate of freedom and democracy after so many years of state repression.
Now they must match their words with direct and immediate action,” said
Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and
North Africa.

“The military authorities must intervene to end torture and other abuse of
detainees, which we now know to have been taking place in military

Recently released detainees told Amnesty International researchers in
Egypt that members of the armed forces used beatings, whipping and other
forms of torture and other ill-treatment to intimidate protestors and to
obtain information about plans for the protests.

“The authorities must immediately issue clear instructions to all security
forces and members of the army that torture or other ill-treatment of
detainees will not be tolerated, and that those responsible for these
abuses will be held to account”, said Malcolm Smart.

One former detainee, a 29-year-old decorator from Gharbiya Province north
of Cairo, told Amnesty International he was tortured by soldiers on 3
February in an annexe to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities:

“They called me a traitor and a foreign agent and forced me to take off my
clothes except my underwear and to lie face down on the floor. Then they
beat me with a whip and stepped with boots on my back and on my hands.
They kicked me. Many other detainees there were also beaten with a whip”,
he said.

After an interrogation by a man in plain clothes, the 29-year old, whose
name is being withheld to protect his security, was beaten over the head
with a chair by a soldier, leaving him unconscious.

He told Amnesty International that he was moved on 4 February to another
location, where he was beaten, subjected to electric shocks and threatened
with rape, and then taken to a military prison in El Heikstep, northeast
of Cairo. He said he was regularly beaten by soldiers there until his
release on 10 February.

In a separate case, an 18-year-old student from Cairo told Amnesty
International that he was tortured at an unknown location after being
arrested by soldiers near Tahrir Square on 3 February.

“They put a chain or rope to my legs and lifted me up – so that my head
was hanging down. From time to time they would let me down into a barrel
that was filled with water. They told me to confess that I was trained by
Israel or by Iran. They also put electric shocks to my body and I
fainted,” he said.

Amnesty International also spoke to relatives and friends of two brothers
in their late twenties who are still being detained without charge in Tora
prison, south of Cairo.

Arrested on 30 January by military police while carrying leaflets in
support of the protests, they were held in the Nasser Military Academy in
Cairo’s Agouza district, where they say they were whipped and subjected to
electric shocks.

“The authorities must immediately disclose the names and whereabouts of
all detainees and either release them promptly or charge them with
recognizable criminal offences,” said Malcolm Smart.

“Those now in power must ensure that all allegations of torture or other
ill-treatment are investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially, that
officials responsible for such abuses are brought to justice, and that
victims receive full reparation.”

On 12 February the Supreme Military Council announced that Egypt would
abide by its international treaties. Egypt has been a party to the
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment since 1987.

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