Monday, 15 October 2012

Egypt police kill 34, torture 88 under Mursi: Report

Riot police take their positions during clashes with protesters along a road at Kornish El Nile which leads to the US Embassy, near Tahrir Square in Cairo on 15 September 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Published Monday, October 15, 2012

Egyptian police were behind at least 88 cases of torture, seven cases of sexual assault and 34 deaths during President's Mohammed Mursi's first 100 days in office, according to a new report.

The report, published by the Cairo-based El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, alleges over 247 cases of police brutality during that period.

The deaths were mainly caused by live ammunition used to attack demonstrators, but included killings inside police stations, prisons and public areas.

In one incident, a woman was killed after being run over by a police car while officers were arresting her son. Police had also tortured her son and daughter.

The report also cites at least eight kidnappings that targeted political activists, many of whom were said to be tortured.

One of the sexual assault victims said a police officer tortured him in prison. The man filed a complaint against the officer who then tortured and raped the victim in his home in front of his wife following his release from prison.

Police launched a brutal crackdown on protesters during last year's uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Violence by security forces persisted during the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which led the country from Mubarak's ouster in February 2011 until Mursi took over as president in June 2012.

Mursi, the country's first civilian and democratically elected president, has been widely criticized by activists and rights groups over his failure to confront the security apparatus over its continued abuses.

Last week Mursi attempted to ease public anger over a court's acquittal of 25 Mubarak loyalists suspected of orchestrating a vicious attack on protesters while riding on camels and horses in what became infamously known as the "Battle of Camel" by sacking the public prosecutor.

But the prosecutor, Abdel Meguid Mahmud, refused to resign, and Mursi eventually agreed to let him stay, compounding frustrations over Mursi's inability to improve the justice system.

Earlier this month, a leading rights group urged Mursi to "reform" the country's police and army after publishing two reports condemning human rights abuses by security forces.

Amnesty International condemned the "unlawful killings, excessive use of force, torture and other ill-treatment against protesters by both the military and the police" during the 16-month post-revolution period.
One report found that "male and female protesters were subjected to severe beatings, given electric shocks, sexually threatened and abused by military troops."

The second report "highlights the brutal response by the police to protests, as well as the longstanding pattern of torture of detainees and the brazen disregard of the rule of law."

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