Saturday, 8 December 2012

Mursi "torture chambers" exposed

Anti-Mursi demonstrators stage a protest outside the presidential palace near Cairo on 7 December 2012. (Photo: Mohammed Abd El Ghany)
Published Friday, December 7, 2012
Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood has set up “torture chambers” inside the presidential palace where protesters detained over the past week have been beaten to force confessions, the country’s Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Friday.
A reporter for the newspaper claims to have been allowed access to makeshift detention centers inside the Heliopolis Palace for three hours on Wednesday during a wake of demonstrations against President Mohammed Mursi where he witnessed beatings.
He wrote that he "heard detainees screaming inside the chamber. ... A bleeding man cried, ‘I’m an educated person. I have a car. Do I look like a thug?’"
The report added:
"Some of the detainees were not able to respond to the questions the Brotherhood interrogators screamed at them because of their physical state. Some were bleeding profusely and severely fatigued, but were not given medical assistance, only offered bottles of water to drink."
Victim of torture at the presidential palaceThe reporter, Mohammed al-Garhi, allegedly took this photo of a tortured prisoner from inside the government palace:
Al-Akhbar cannot independently verify the allegations in the story.
Tens of thousands of protesters have been demonstrating outside the palace since Tuesday when police attacked marchers who attempted to dismantle barricades. They are demanding Mursi withdraw a November 22 decree granting himself autocratic powers, and that he scrap a draft constitution grounded in sharia.
Prisoners inside the palace detention rooms would first have their phones, ID cards and money confiscated by authorities before being shouted at and beaten. The interrogators would ask the detainees if they were being paid to participate in the demonstrations, or if they belonged to an opposition party.
If they refused to answer questions, or denied any wrongdoing or political affiliation, "the torturers would intensify beatings and verbal abuse," the report added.
An Egyptian rights group in October published a report documenting 247 cases of police brutality, and 88 cases of torture, during Mursi's first 100 days in office. The embattled Islamist leader took office in June.
A number of torture cases that had taken place inside police stations resulted in death, the report found.
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