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Mubarak must be tried for torturing political prisoners, says former jihadist

Tarek El-Zomor, jailed for involvement in president Sadat's assassination and a leading figure in Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, describes the horror of Mubarak's torture chambers as 'worse than at Abu Ghraib'

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Feb 2012
Tarek el-Zomor
Islamic Jihad group member Tarek el-Zomor (AP)
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Tarek El-Zomor, a leading figure in the hard-line Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and its political wing the Building and Development Party, has called for the prosecution of former president Hosni Mubarak for the torture and murder of prisoners during his 30-year reign.

He made the comments on Tuesday at a conference in Fayoum attended by members of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya.

El-Zomor, who spent three decades in prison for his role in the assassination of president Sadat, said the torture and human rights abuses at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib detention centre were nothing compared to what happened in Mubarak’s prisons.

"The torturers in Mubarak prisons had their own creative techniques," El-Zomor said.

If Mubarak is acquitted of ordering the killing of protesters during the January 25 Revolution, said El-Zomor, he should be prosecuted for his role in the torture and murder of political prisoners, a charge for which there is ample evidence.

The Islamist leader likened prisoners killed inside Egypt's jails to protesters slain during Egypt's 2011 uprising. However, the latter at least received proper burials, whilst dead prisoners were dumped in unmarked graves.

In further unrelated comments, El-Zomor condemned the ruling military council's issuance of a new presidential election law without referring it to the People’s Assembly, describing it as an "attack on parliament's legislative power."

The Building and Development Party won 16 seats in recent People's Assembly elections.

Tarek El-Zomor was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 1981, but was only released in March 2011, following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.

He was the first Egyptian prisoner to receive a PhD degree in constitutional law during his imprisonment.

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