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Egypt's police stations to have units to monitor human rights abuses

Move to install human rights departments in police stations comes after recent reports of torture at the hands of Egyptian officers

Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Oct 2014
Cairo Security Directorate (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's police stations will include a department to monitor human rights breaches, state-run news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

MENA said the new department will be led by an officer who has undergone training courses in human rights, "to raise awareness of the (policemen)."

The head of Cairo's security directorate has already established the new unit in a police station in Al-Nozha district, which he said will keep contact with the district's residents and will look into complaints related to assaults inside stations as well as detention conditions.

Similar units at different police stations will be established.

The move comes as rights groups say policemen have returned to their old brutal ways when dealing with citizens during arrests or while in police stations. Several accounts of police torture have circulated in recent months, causing an uproar.

In one video that surfaced in August, policemen appeared to be laughing and taking pictures of a dead man's body, placing a cigarette into the man's bloodied mouth.

Authorities confirmed the incident and said there will be an investigation, but no information was provided afterwards.

Police heavy handedness and abuse was one of the main reasons that sparked the 2011 popular revolt against longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, when a young man in Alexandria, Khaled Said, died of torture at a police station.

Amnesty International said in its 2014 annual report on the usage of torture worldwide that torture remains "endemic" in Egypt.

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