Egypt's general-prosecutor Hesham Barakat (Photo: Ahram)
On Sunday, Egypt's Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat ordered all prosecution offices nationwide to conduct a search throughout Egypt's prisons to reveal cases of torture, if any.
Several Egyptian NGOs have recently raised concern over alleged torture cases. Among them is the Cairo-based NGO, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR), which issued a statement on 29 August expressing its "great concern" regarding unofficial news that Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie was assaulted after police arrested him on 20 August.
The EOHR filed a report with the prosecutor demanding an investigation into the alleged incident, intending to announcing its results to the public.
Head of EOHR, Hafez Abu Seada, said that "principles of journalism are not divided and that all [detainees] should receive equal treatment regardless of their affiliations, whether political, religious, ethnic or ideological."
He added that torture is a "crime against humanity" which breaches "all international treaties" and that perpetrators should be held accountable.
Torture by the police against detainees has been a critical issue in Egypt, with increasing reports on its occurrence in police stations, especially prior to the popular ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Reports by rights organisation indicate that it continues to happen.
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights was founded in 1985. It is one of the earliest organisations to have worked on human rights in Egypt, and it has consistently sought to implement universal and national legislation through reporting cases of abuse over the past 25 years.