Egypt: Ahmed Abdelradi severely tortured by Aswan police

Egypt: Ahmed Abdelradi severely tortured by Aswan police

Ahmed Rajab Abdelradi, a 23 year old chemist from Aswan, was arrested on 12 November 2009, and was later severely tortured while in the custody of the Investigative Branch of the Aswan Police Department. He was taken from his home by State Security Intelligence (SSI) officers supported by officers of the Investigative Branch of the Aswan Police Department. He was accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

On 13, 14, 15, and 18 November 2009, Mr Abdelradi was tortured by members of the SSI, in particular Major Mohamed Al-Omari and Captain Taha Abu Sahl. He was stripped naked and humiliated; he was tortured with electric shocks and continuously punched, slapped and kicked all over his body.

Instances of police brutality are increasingly commonplace in Egypt, as an atmosphere of impunity is fostered by the free reign given to security forces under the State of Emergency law in place since 1981. Various cases of torture in Egypt have recently been exposed to the public. The Egyptian blogger-sphere has been spreading leaked video footage of torture in Egypt, including the torture of detainees in police stations. The most recent case to receive international media exposure was that of Colonel Akram Soliman, accused of detaining and beating Ragaie Soltan for eight days without any formal charges. According to Moheb Aboud of the Victims Human Rights Institute, “Article 282 of the Egyptian Penal Code states that an officer who tortured or illegally captured a suspect should receive life sentence with labor.” To Alkarama’s knowledge, this article has never been implemented.

El-Ghad opposition party founder, Ayman Nour, is quoted as saying, “The Ministry of Interior deals very softly with torture cases. If proven guilty, officers are sent to prison for short periods and have their jobs reinstated right after their release.”

According to sources working on Mr Abelradi’s case, the torture was aimed at extracting information about the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Aswan, a movement which the SSI has been systematically targeting with arbitrary arrests. Alkarama recently submitted 112 cases of the arbitrary detention of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD).

It remains to be seen what measures the Egyptian Ministry of Interior will take to quash further instances of police brutality, however the Egyptian public remains indignant; according to Amro Hassan of the Los Angeles Times, “Public anger over the torture of suspects and prisoners has intensified since it began in 2007 when bloggers started posting videos of police abuse on the Internet.”

While Alkarama submitted Ahmed Abdelradi’s case to the Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) on 8 December 2009, it now calls upon the international community to condemn the atmosphere of impunity in Egypt and the gross violations which occur because of it.

During Mr Abdelradi’s trial on 19 November 2009, his lawyers raised the fact that he was tortured, however the court failed to take action on these allegations.

Despite receiving an order for his release from the Aswan Correctional Court on 18 November 2009, Mr Abdelradi remains detained at the offices of the Investigative Branch of the Aswan Police Department. Alkarama has been informed that a decision for the extension of his detention will be made on 9 December 2009; fears are that this decision will be taken based on facts extracted under torture.