Amnesty demands release of minor raped, tortured in police custody

Human rights organization Amnesty International issued a call on Friday for the release of a 14 year-old boy who was reportedly beaten, tortured and raped with a wooden stick while in police custody.

The teenagar, Mazen Mohamed Abdallah, was taken by the Armed Forces from his home on September 30, 2015, according to the report.

After interrogating him at his residence, security officers told his mother that they were going to ask Abdallah a few questions before returning him home. However, Abdallah was detained for seven days instead, without access to lawyers or contact with his family. During that time, the family was unable to determine his location, making Abdallah one of the many who have been forcibly disappeared over the past year.

While in custody, National Security agents tortured Abdallah by administering electric shocks to his genitals, beating him and raping him multiple times with a wooden stick, according to Abdallah’s family and lawyer.

Abdallah stated that the agents were attempting to coerce him into confessing to being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, participating in protests and printing flyers calling for demonstrations.

The teenager said that after being transferred to the Second Nasr City Police station on October 7, the torture intensified and a National Security officer told him that it would continue to increase and his parents would be arrested if he redacted his “confession.”

Abdallah was eventually found by his family by chance through a contact in the National Security prosecutor’s office, where Abdallah was transferred the next day.

Nevertheless, Abdallah was charged with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and inciting and participating in protests. The prosecutor ordered him to remain in custody for 15 days, and his detention has been renewed repeatedly in violation of Article 119 of Egypt’s Child Law, which states that a minor below 15 years of age cannot be placed in pretrial detention.

Abdallah is currently being detained at the First Nasr City Police Station.

Said Boumedouha, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme, said in the statement that, “The horrific abuse described by Mazen Mohamed Abdallah gives a sickening insight into the widespread and routine use of torture and ill-treatment by Egyptian security forces in police stations.”

Gamal Eid, the director of the Arab Network for Human Rights (ANHR), told Mada Masr that the case is not exceptional, given that security agents are indiscriminate in their use of torture.

“Torture in general is widespread in prisons, it has nothing to do with age or gender. The [security agents] who get caught or cause a scandal might get punished, but not the ones who practice torture,” he said.

Abdallah’s case is also emblematic of the widespread forced disappearances that have occurred over the course of the past few years. Forced disappearances have been documented by several human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the Freedom for the Brave Campaign and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), among others.

According to the Stop Forced Disappearances campaign, there were at least 215 cases of forced disappearances over the course of August and September 2015.  

Eid stated that “enforced disappearance has become almost a phenomenon and has been systematic throughout this year.”

He added that the there is almost no protection for minors when they are detained or tortured.

“The law is being disregarded or neglected in terms of arresting, prosecution and detention of minors. There are some that have been released, but there are hundreds more who are being detained against the conditions of the law,” Eid explained.

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