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Egypt slams Human Rights Watch report on 'systematic torture'

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Sep 2017
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Egypt’s foreign ministry has strongly criticised a report by Human Rights Watch which alleges torture is “a systematic practice” in Egypt.

In an official statement on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the report was “intended defamation by the group, which is known for its political agenda and biased orientations that reflect the interests of the parties and countries that finance it.”

He denounced the “desperate attempts to defame the 30 June revolution by describing it as a coup against an elected president in a report that is supposed to be of unbiased and unpoliticised basis.” HRW described the events that ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as a coup, adding that Egyptian authorities have since arrested or charged around 60,000 people, with Muslim Brotherhood members the primary suspects.

Abu Zeid expressed his regret that an “organisation that gives itself the right to defend freedoms and human rights in the world practices a method that contradicts with such values through spreading rumours and referring to undocumented testimonies, as well as promoting old reports as ones that reflect the current situation in Egypt.”

The report released on Wednesday details alleged abuses used by Egypt’s interior ministry to gather information from political detainees.

Egypt's interior ministry has long denied subjecting any individual to torture in custody, stressing that such practices were “individual police violations.” Abu Zeid said that detailed review of the report discloses the selectivity practiced by the group in choosing sources of information.

“The report has overlooked Egypt’s progress in human rights over the past years, with Egypt’s commitment to hold accountable anyone involved in torture crimes or any human rights violations,” he said, stressing that the Egyptian judiciary has punished dozens of people convicted of such violations.

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