Egypt slams Amnesty’s allegations of torture and forced disappearance

Ahram Online , Wednesday 13 Jul 2016

Egypt's foreign affairs ministry said rights group Amnesty International has a 'special interest in tarnishing Egypt's image'

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Egypt's foreign affairs ministry slammed on Wednesday a statement by Amnesty International that alleges a "trend" in Egypt where "hundreds of students, political activists and protesters, including children... vanish without trace at the hands of the state."

Amnesty's report details the experiences of 17 people, including five children, who were allegedly subjected to force disappearances for several weeks or months and long torture sessions designed to extract “false confessions.”

The torture methods, according to the report, include detainees being “raped by a wooden stick” and another “given electric shocks.”

Despite similar reports by a number of Egyptian rights groups, Egypt's interior ministry has repeatedly denied subjecting any individual to forced disappearance or torture in custody.

Egypt's foreign affairs ministry said it "will not comment on Amnesty International's report," describing it as "not impartial and motivated by political stances."

The ministry also said Amnesty has “a special interest in tarnishing Egypt's image,” and that it relies "solely on sources that express one side of the story, and persons and entities that are hostile towards the Egyptian state."

The statement also said Amnesty neglected "actions taken by the judiciary regarding the addressed cases in accordance with the explicit principles and provisions of the Egyptian constitution and law."

Amnesty, on the other hand, said that “counter-terrorism [is] being used as an excuse” for subjecting citizens to forced disappearances.

The report also accuses the judiciary of colluding with the national security forces and "judicial authorities have been prepared to lie to cover their tracks or failed to investigate torture allegations."

Amnesty's report also mentioned Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose body was found in February on the side of the road in Cairo with clear torture marks.

They say that although "Egyptian authorities have repeatedly denied involvement in his disappearance and killing, Amnesty International’s report found... similarities between his injuries and those of Egyptians who died in custody."

The rights group called on Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to "order all state security agencies to stop enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of ill-treatment and make clear that anyone who orders, commits or is complicit in such violations will be brought to justice.”

It also called on all states, in particularly EU member states and the United States, to "pressure Egypt to end these appalling violations" and to "cease all transfers of arms and equipment that have been used to commit serious human rights violations in Egypt until effective safeguards against misuse are established."

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