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Amnesty Int's Egypt report meets with no government denial

For once, an Amnesty International report on human rights abuses in Egypt has not met with derision and denial

Dina Ezzat, Sunday 15 May 2011

"Khaled Said was severely assaulted by two police officers in plain clothes in front of witnesses at an Internet café in Alexandria on 6 June, apparently causing his death," reads the report of Amnesty International on Egypt during the past 12 months, covering two thirds of the Hosni Mubarak regime and one third of the post-January 25 Revolution period.

The death of Said both closed 30 years of autocratic rule by Mubarak and opened the future, post-revolution. As the Amnesty International report furthers notes, the case of Said "provoked a public outcry and two police officers from Sidi Gaber police station (in Alexandria) were charged with unlawfully arresting and torturing him, although not with direct responsibility for his death."

Death in custody, detention without trial, and perpetual administrative detention are among the accusations leveled by Amnesty International against officials during the last few months of the Mubarak era. Other charges include constraints on freedom of expression and discrimination against women.

"Women continued to suffer from discrimination, violence and sexual harassment," says the report. It adds that in "slums, women were also discriminated against in the allocation of alternative housing during evictions; when a male spouse was absent, local authorities required women to produce proof of their marital status or face possible homelessness."

The authors of the Amnesty International report also note that, "Border security forces continued to use lethal force against foreign migrants who attempted to leave Egypt and cross the border into Israel."

According to the report, "at least 30 were reported to have been shot dead … Others seeking to cross the border illegally were arrested and detained," adding: "No official investigations were carried out into the circumstances in which lethal force was used."

The Amnesty report was issued two days ago. Contrary to routine during the Mubarak era, it was not met with a statement from the Foreign Ministry labeling its assertions as fabrications.

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