April 6 decries alleged fresh torture of detainees

Passant Darwish , Sunday 16 Feb 2014

April 6 Youth Movement denounces new alleged torture incidents in 6 October central security camp, seeks escalation

Activists and supporters of Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement, clash with security forces outside Abdeen court in Cairo November 30, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

April 6 Youth Movement denounced Sunday fresh alleged torture cases against 42 "political detainees" held in a central security camp in Egypt's 6 October district.

Mohamed Kamal, deputy head of the movement's communication office, told Ahram Online that, despite the interior ministry's denial of torture cases, political detainees in the 6 October central security camp are allegedly undergoing a daily "systematic torture campaign" by central security officers that significantly worsened in the early hours of Sunday.

Kamal claims that the torture particularly increased when central security officers allegedly beat the detainees. According to detainees who recounted the incident to April 6 members, the officers also fired teargas near the detainees' cells, causing many to suffer suffocation.

The deputy spokesman said the group will escalate the matter to ensure the rights of political prisoners are maintained. Initial steps will include exerting pressure on Egypt's National Council for Human Rights to inspect all places where detainees are being held to record any mistreatment.

Kamal Abbas, head of the economic and social rights committee at the National Council for Human Rights, told Ahram Online that the council has filed a request to the interior ministry to inspect the 6 October central security camp after receiving complaints from April 6.

The council, according to Abbas, holds a long list of places to inspect where political detainees are being held. He adds that the interior ministry grants the council swift approvals for inspection.

The National Council for Human Rights, which has so far visited Tora Prison to inspect the treatment of political detainees, recorded violations and reported them to the interior ministry.

The interior ministry, according to Abbas, has "positively responded to the complaints affirming that they are individual cases, punishing the wrongdoers from the officers, and enhancing the treatment of prisoners according to the international regulations of human rights."

Since the passing of a "protest law" regulating street demonstrations, political detainees have markedly increased in Egypt. They are mostly arrested for protesting without a permit or on charges of belonging to or sympathising with the Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist group by Egypt's interim cabinet late last year.

The swelling figures of political prisoners have gone hand in hand with a rise in complaints of torture.

Denying the recent accusations, the interior ministry released a statement on Tuesday saying "In light of complaints in the media by pre-trial detainees about ill treatment and torture, the Ministry of Interior assures that none of these claims is true and the ministry is ready to receive any complaint for inspection."

Torture is categorically prohibited by Egypt's new constitution. Article 52 states: "Torture in all its forms is a crime without a statute of limitations."

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