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Torture in Egypt.. overview
Torture in Egypt.. overview
Torture in Egypt is not an ordinary crime. Rather, in recent years it has reached a critical level, it changed from being "an ordinary crime" to widespread phenomena.
Wednesday, November 28,2007 06:31

Torture in Egypt is not an  ordinary crime. Rather, in recent years it has reached a critical level, it changed from being "an ordinary crime" to widespread phenomena.
 The Legal Aid Center reported between the year 1994 and 1995 about 100 case of torture .
Furthermore, the use of torture is not restricted to political opponents but rather is employed against ordinary civilians. Amnesty International in its 2003 report similarly confirmed that the use of torture has become entrenched in detention centers and is used against both political activists and criminal suspects arrested during the course of criminal investigations.
UN special rapporteur concluded that “torture is systematically practiced by the security forces in Egypt, in particular the state security intelligence, since in spite of denials of the government”.
Torture in Egypt is a widespread and persistent phenomenon. Security forces and the police routinely torture or ill-treat detainees, particularly during interrogation. In most cases, officials torture detainees to obtain information and coerce confessions. Police also detain and torture family members to obtain information or confessions from a relative, or to force a wanted relative to surrender.

Does the Egyptian law criminalize torture?
  The Egyptian Constitution and torture
 - Our constitution considers any attack on a citizen an act remains punishable no matter how much time has elapsed.
- Articles 42 and 43 of the Penal Procedures Code permit the public prosecution office to inspect Police Stations and determine whether individuals are in detention without a legal basis. However, these provisions are incapable of preventing attacks on individuals in police custody, especially given the limited number of prosecution office officials and the enormous number of Police Stations and detention places that require inspection.
- Article 57 of the Constitution that states that any attack on the rights of citizens is a crime, and that the criminal and civil lawsuit arising from it "is not liable to prescription". (Articles 162 and 210 of the Criminal Procedures Code contradict that constitution article).

Normal law:
 In June 1994, the Committee against Torture called on Egypt
to “provide in its penal legislation for all forms of torture”.
The Egyptian legislative structure remains a fertile breeding ground for torture because it protects the perpetrators of torture, either they escape punishment altogether or receive punishment which does not correspond to the gravity of their crimes.
- Definition of torture: article 126 of the Penal Code stipulates that in order for torture victims to raise a legal case, the torture must have been inflicted in order to induce a confession and it must have been carried out by a public employee. in this way, many cases of torture, fell outside  the sphere of torture.
For CAT, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed.
Under Articles 126 and 282 of the Penal Code acts committed against the relatives of the accused in order to force him to confess and which harm his mental or physiological well being are not considered torture.

- Light Penalties:  although this limited definition of torture, the policeman charged of committing, Egyptian law considers torture is not a crime at all! Article 63 Penal Code provides:
"No crime occurs where an act is carried out by a public official in execution of an order given by a superior which he is obliged to follow, or if his intentions were good in committing the act he committed it according to his obligation under the law, or according to what he believed to be his sphere of authority".
- So often the law lets the door open to torture perpetrators to escape of penalty, as Article (129) of the Penal Code stipulates:
"Public employees or officials, and individuals assigned to a public service who use their position to treat an individual cruelly by comprising honor, causing pain or hurting them, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of up to a year or by a fine that shall not exceed LE 200".

- Civil claims
 Under Article 232(2) direct civil claims cannot be brought against public officials or officers for a crime committed while he was in the course of discharging his duties.
Articles 162 and 210 of the Criminal Procedures Code ban the plaintiff from appealing orders issued by the inquiry judge or the public prosecution on the grounds that there is no basis for raising a criminal case against a public official for a crime which occurred during the course of his duties.
 Egyptian human rights organizations report at least 10 cases in 2002 and seven in 2003, The Prosecutor General’s office opened criminal investigations in some of these cases following formal complaints filed by human rights lawyers and family members. None of these investigations have led to criminal prosecution or disciplinary actions against the perpetrators.

case 1

Mohamed Morsy Saleh, 26 years old
On the13th April 2004, while Saleh was in a market with his cousin Abdel Rahman, patrol policeman passing by insulted them which led to a confrontation between the three men. The policeman pistol whipped Saleh on his forehead, fired shots in the air to terrify bystanders and fired a shot at Saleh"s right leg which hit him in his ankle.
He tied his hands and attached him to his motorcycle, then dragged him along on the ground out of the market area. Immediately after this the Saleh"s sister, Samah headed towards him to check on him. The policeman beat her, tearing her clothes. Salah went to the hospital where they refused to receive him before he reported to the police station.

Torture not spare children, the last of whom was child Mohamed Mohamed Mamdouh, 12 years old
Muhammad was died days after he was arrested and tortured by police for four days, as he was detained on suspicion of having stolen four packs of tea!.
On the fifth day, after his wounds reached a deadly state out of negligence, he was thrown away, and people find him spending the whole night lying unconscious at a parking lot and they brought him home.
Mohamed identified and named the two policemen, who had beaten him up and tortured him with electrocution, despite that, high-ranking local officials and policemen tried to bribe his mother and other times to threaten here so as not to file a complaint, they offered the mother 1,000 Egyptian pounds (about 175 dollars).
Furthermore, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that claims of that the child had been subjected to torture was mere allegations
Non the less, Muhammad"s bother was tortured by police who threatened to fabricate a drugs charge against him if he refused to testify that burn marks on his brother"s body resulted from an electric cable that fell on him six months before his detention.
A classic way of torture used by the men of Minister of Interior is to burn the victims, among them the victims burned at Siwa police station and Khaled Abdel Nabi who was set on fire in Fanara police station and died as a result of the fire consuming 40% of his body. Also Rabie Soliman who was soaked in Kerosene by the officer at Sanures police station, who gave the orders to burn him because he refused to confess to the theft of a cow. When the officer thought that Rabie had died he ordered his subordinates to throw him in the street in front of El Fayoum. He died a few days later.

Why torture is spreading in Egypt?
- Legalizations
A review of Egyptian laws shows that many provisions grant vast powers of arrest and detention to the authorities. Moreover, the penalties defined by the penal codes against those who commit torture are weak and provide no deterrent.
- The continuation of the Emergency Law
Emergency Law no. 162 [1958] provides a fertile environment for the spread of torture in Egypt, providing legal protection for those who commit torture. Article 3 of the Emergency Law states:
"Upon a declaration of a state of emergency, the President may take appropriate measures to maintain security and public order by imposing restrictions on individuals" freedom to meet, travel and reside in particular places, and by arresting and detaining suspects"
- Broad powers for police officers
 Article 102 of Police Authority Code 109 [1971] grants the policeman the rights to "use the amount of force necessary in order to perform his duties where this is the only means of performing these duties." The meaning of "amount" is left to the officer"s discretion, which opens the door to the abuse of force in the absence of clear rules.
- The relationship between the police officer and citizen  
Once you visit Egypt, you frequently hear the word" Pasha", which used to indicate a police office, or even a solider." pasha" was originally used as a title of rich and powerful men. And you hear it so often on street, because the Pasha is the one who has all power in his hand.
Police officer were presented as helpful guys, parent were telling their children to seek help from the police man in case their get lost or even want to cross the street safely. Nowadays, you would find children scared of the police men. And, instead of the slogan "police is serving people", it officially became "police and people are serving the country".
The victims of police crimes have to go by a long rocky way to get their rights back, as the law are relatively biased to civil servants, the police officer is powerful enough to do pressure on the one who wants to complain him. plus, the absence of link between human rights centers and people, as this centers have a limited number and often presented by the state as "notorious" bodies.
But, that does not mean that all victims give up hope, some seek the help from NGOs, recently Government decided to resolve the Organization for Legal Aid in Human Rights met objections from 42 other rights organizations that immediately filed a counter suit.
And about two weeks ago, a movement was found by human rights activists to create a united front against such abuses, its name is "Egyptians against torture".

tags: Egypt / MB / Human Rights / Bloggers
Posted in Interviews , Human Rights , Torture  
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