HR groups, political parties demand torture investigations

Several accounts of torture and assaults of inmates in police stations and prisons have led human rights organizations to issue a press release demanding immediate investigation on the matter.

In the press release issued on Wednesday, human rights organizations complained of the lack of investigation into cases of torture reported by detainees in prisons and police stations, many of whom were detained during demonstrations commemorating the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, when over 1000 protesters were arrested.

The press release follows increasing testimonies of torture by detained citizens arrested in several protests in the last seven months.

In his testimonial, activist Khaled al-Sayed, who was arrested on January 25, said that he was tortured in Qasr al-Nil police station and later in the Abu Zaabal prison facility. When he tried to communicate to the prosecutor the fact that he was tortured by showing marks on his body, they declined to record it as evidence. 

Sayed added that he and a group of detainees were blindfolded as they were beaten. They were also made to hear the screaming of other activists being tortured and electrocuted. They were told by the officers, “these kids are being tortured because of you, kids of the revolution. Because of you, we won’t let them go home.” Some also recounted being sexually assaulted.

The signatory organizations also mentioned cases of female detainees being exposed to vaginal examinations and sexual assaults in Qanater prison and other police stations. These women were arrested on several occasions, including on the revolution’s anniversary protests.

The release added that with rising arrests in the last seven months, prisons have been packed with detainees, who have also been held at Central Security Forces camps, which are considered illegal detention spots.

The report added that torture trends in the aftermath of the third anniversary of the revolution are similar to those documented during the arrests surrounding the second anniversary of the revolution. This is the time when Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim started his mandate.

Ibrahim denied torture has been taking place in police stations in statements made on February 11.

Signatories demanded that medical checks be implemented on detainees, and requested permission to visit detention centres.

The organizations added that prisons are subject to no monitoring since human rights organizations are currently not allowed visits and no judicial authorities conduct regular inspections.

The press release also stated concerns that accusations against those detained include the killing of protesters as well as breaking of the protest law. “It is strange that the prosecution is accusing those detained of killing their fellow protesters who died of bullets on January 25,” the statement added.

The outcry against the detention and torture of protesters was picked up by a number of political parties at a press conference held on Wednesday. A statement issued by the parties accused the government of engaging in repressive practices under the guise of fighting terrorism.

While the parties expressed the need for a national front that stands behind state institutions in the face of terrorism, they also expressed concerns about unchecked security practices, which have resulted in the killing of innocent people and the detention of hundreds of youths.

The parties also demanded investigations into police killings as well as torture accounts.

Parties who participated in the presser include Masr al-Horreya, the Social Democratic Party, the Dostour Party and Al-Tayyar al-Masry, among others.

Meanwhile, Hesham Barakat, the public prosecutor, was reported by the state-run Middle East News Agency as saying on Wednesday that there are no political detainees and that all those in detention awaiting trial are incarcerated in accordance with prosecution orders, or those of investigation judges or courts. He added that no exceptional measures have been taken against detainees.

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