When will torture in Egypt end?
|Saturday, August 11,2007 10:25|
|By S. Abbadi|
16 torture cases committed in police stations have been revealed nationwide in one single month by media and Human Rights Organizations. The various methods of torture included electric shocks, illegal detention like the case of Al-Muntazah police station in Alexandria, extinguishing cigarettes in the body, in Siwa torture reached the extent of setting the body to fire, while a citizen was tortured to death in Mansoura.
The victim may be an ordinary citizen who was forced to enter a police station or a citizen implicated in a certain case, but he turns from an accused to a victim. As for the accused, he may be an officer or a policeman or a recruit who carries out orders. The charge is torturing inside a police station .
The following are some torturing cases behind closed doors:
Gamal Nour Mohamed, 26 years, said he was detained inside the police station of Menkabad, Asyut, by a police officer and a police corporal who demanded him to pay 200 pounds fine for buildings. He asked them be released and go home to bring the required fine.
Thinking that the accused tries to escape, the officer and the police corporal detained him inside a room and the policeman ordered him to take off his clothes, while the officer started to smoke cigarettes and extinguish butts in the accused body, turning his body into a cigarette extinguisher, till he faced a low blood pressure and fell to the ground. After being sent to the university hospital, the forensic pathologist report revealed to the prosecution that there are signs of torture on the body, prompting a prosecution investigation into the incident with the officer and police corporal.
At Kafr Al-Zayat police station, Gharbiya, 3 policemen detained a peddler for 5 days during which he was denied food and drink, because he refused to admit stealing a bag from the car of a police colonel"s wife. They hanged him to the room ceiling, and severely beat him with batons and shocked him with electricity until he admitted under force. When he appeared before the presentation, the accused changed his confessions and revealed to the prosecutor what happened to him inside the police station. The investigator sent to the victim to the forensic pathologist and ordered the policeman and police chief appear before him to probe into the tortures they committed.
As for Al-Muntazah police station, Alexandria, the public prosecution spotted the incident red-handed when the prosecutors carried out a sudden inspection in the station. Al-Muntazah prosecution revealed in last month investigations that a number of residents at Al-Minshiya submitted complaints that a number of their sons, mothers and infants were arrested inside the police station without any legal basis. A team of the prosecution went to the police station and found 40 detainees whose names aren’t registered in the police station"s official records. The prosecution found also a big number of wine bottles and torture tools like sticks, hoses and ropes. The prosecution ordered the detainees released and opened an expanded investigation with the commissioner, the police chief and officers to reveal why the citizens were detained without any legal basis. The officers claimed that a quarrel took place between two families in Al-Minshiya and that they arrested some residents because they were involved in acts of bullying.
In New Cairo, a worker entered a police station to submit a complaint in which he accuses 3 policemen of beating and insulting him inside a mini bus while he was heading for work. H was stunned by the policemen taking him to an arrest room and tying him with ropes, leaving him for an hour to scream and seek help from officers, and no one responded to his pleas except for a police corporal who told him "there is no officer here".
The three police men returned and beat him by pushing him to a door in the police station. A board of glass fell over his head causing cuts in his neck and artery of his right hand. After all this, they didn"t send for an ambulance. A friend of his discovered the incident by chance, and he sent for an ambulance and moved him to Al-Khalifa hospital. The prosecution ordered the policemen be investigated with.
In Port Said, four residents of Zirzara region faced another tragic incident inside the police station. They went along with a number of the region"s residents to hold a sit-in in front of the governor"s office to show their demands that they must receive houses to shelter them, after their houses collapsed because bad sanitary systems demolished the region and drowned their temporary tents.
The residents gathered in front of the governorate building, condemning the municipality"s action of removing there tents and that they are living in streets during the past 6 months and no one tried to help them. Policemen besieged them and ordered them return to their cracked tents and to end the sit-in or they will disperse them using force.
4 of the demonstrating residents asked people not to leave and to insist on showing their problems. The policemen arrested the four young men and sent them to one an arrest room. The four young men were released a week later to speak about hideous incidents that happened to them in side this dark arrest room.
At Siwa police station, two officers and a policeman were investigating into an incident of stealing electricity cables. They arrested 4 young men on this charge. On writing confessions, one of the accused, Yahya Abdullah, 24 years, denied the charges and confirmed that he knew nothing about stealing the cables. The two officers used a new method to force him to confess. They poured alcohol over his body and set it ablaze, causing burns in his body. The victim"s condition deteriorated and they felt that they committed a torture case.
The two officers got rid of the victim through putting him in a truck and ordered its driver to send him to Libya. Days later, the case was exposed and the victim"s relatives got enraged. The Matrouh security manager promised to investigate with the officers. The public prosecution held investigations and released the two officers pending investigations.
The question is?
How torturers in Egyptian police stations and State Security Police premises escape punishment?. Is there any loophole in the Egyptian legislation to allow these criminals to escape? Or it is in those applying laws and legislations?. How to make Egypt a safe and torture-free country?.
Ahmed Saif Al-Islam Hamad, a human rights activist and manager of Hesham Mubarak"s human rights center, says "Torture is systematically committed in Egypt. Many Human Rights Organizations inside and outside Egypt used to say this fact in annual documented reports, the latest of which was report of the international committee against torture, in which it said:" Torture is a premeditated systematic policy in Egypt widely exercised by policemen while interrogating accused and suspects".
For his part, lawyer and member of parliament, Sobhi Saleh, said:" The problem is not in laws or legislations criminalizing torture because there are many in Egypt in the penal code and the code of criminal procedure and others. The problem is in the culture of tyranny, a culture that makes the regime continuously exercise torture without any deterrent".
Asked about the legal obstacles preventing public prosecutors from curbing the phenomenon of torturing citizens by policemen, he said that Egypt has been ruled for the past 25 years with the emergency law that makes policeman do whatever they want while their spiritual tongue says to prosecutors:" Policemen"s power is stronger". "They learned when they were fresh students in the Police Academy how to insult and oppress citizen" he added.
Asked about the solution according to his own view, to make Egypt torture free, Al Saleh said:" There is no solution and no hope as long as the current regime is still in power with its current condition".