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Egypt Human Rights Violations: History of Torture in Egypt

Egypt Human Rights Violations of Terrorist Suspects Began in 1990s

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1990s: Egypt Human Rights Violations of Terrorist Suspects Begin

Egypt has a consistent history of mistreating political prisoners, often in the name of fighting terrorism. Its targets in the 1990s were members of armed Islamist groups, who were committing acts of domestic terrorism, especially against the country's Coptic Christian population. Many of them belonged to one of two Egyptian groups, al Jihad Al Islami or Al Jama'a Islamiyya (Islamic Group).

According to reports issued by Amnesty International in the 1990s, abuses took place in the State Security Investigations Department (SSI) headquarters, as well as in other branches, policy stations and other locations. This included targeting female family members. As the Africa News Service reported in 1996:

"In our culture, the humiliation of a wife or mother or sister will break a man's back," says Dr Aida Seif al Dowla, a psychiatrist from the Cairo Centre for the Management and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, who confirms that women related to Islamic activists have been tortured.

Amal was arrested hours after police captured her husband, Ahmed al Sayid, who is now serving a 25-year sentence for an assassination attempt on Egypt's Minister of Information.

"In the beginning the interrogators were nice to me. They wanted me to appear on television to condemn my husband as a lunatic and wife-beater. When I refused, they turned ugly.

"First they mocked me for wearing a veil. Then they blindfolded me, stripped me down to my underwear and hung me by my hands from a hook in the ceiling. There were at least seven men in the room and some of them were telling me how much they would enjoy raping me.

"As they taunted me, they whipped me with cable wire, kicked me in the stomach and sliced open my back with razors. This lasted for more than two hours. While I was in this room, I could hear my husband screaming in pain and shouting "Ya awlad al sharameet ana marafsh aya haga. [You sons of bitches, I don't know anything.]" It was obvious that they were torturing him.'

Domestic Terrorism Suspects Tortured Today: Taba Bombing Suspects Case

On November 30, 2006, 12 men were convicted in Egyptian court for their role in a terrorist bombing in Taba, 2004. Thirty four were killed in seaside resort attack. Two of the men were sentenced to death. All of the men claimed at trial that they had been tortured while in detention.

Muhammad Jayiz Sabah Hussein, one of the men sentenced to death, testified in court that he had been "blindfolded, bound, and unaware of his location," and that State Security Officers had "hung him byhis arms and legs and used electrical currents to torture him…" to extract confessions from him before his trial, according to Human Rights Watch . Doctors confirmed at trial that Jayiz had bodily marks consistent with his claim of torture.

Egypt's Role in War on Terror Extraordinary Renditions

Egypt has been linked to extraordinary rendition, the practice of Western democracies of sending detainees to third-party countries for interrogation. Both the United States and the United Kingdom have sent terrorist suspects to Egypt for detention. " In 2005, Egypt's prime minister acknowledged that since 2001 the USA had transferred some 60-70 detainees to Egypt as part of the "war on terror," according to BBC News.

Read the Report Black Hole: the Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt

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