Marking 4th Anniversary of Torturing State Security Detainee No.25

Marking 4th Anniversary of Torturing State Security Detainee No.25

This night four years ago, specifically on Jan. 14, 2003, they entered, asked me to hood my face and took me … to where?

Four years ago, we were arrested by the state security service; we were 14 persons affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and we were in an organizational meeting rejecting the war on Iraq; our meeting in Al-Zaytoun district, east of Cairo, was stormed in a horrible and frightening way that reminds us of Jews’ incursions against houses of the Palestinian resistance elements; they ordered us lie on the floor and they tied us from the back.
We appeared before the state security prosecution on charge of belonging to an outlawed group (the Muslim Brotherhood); the prosecution jailed us for 15 days of provisional detention pending trial in Tora farm prison.

On Jan. 14, 2003 in the morning, we appeared again before the prosecution that ordered resuming our jail for 15 more days; we rode the deportations car that took us not towards Tora prisons but to another prison inside the region, the reception prison.

The officer who is responsible for moving us said:” We will be forced to hold you in this new prison for one single night because there is an inspection on Tora farm prison… I wasn’t astonished because I do not know what will happen!!

Just a Little Walk

We entered the new prison in which we were supposed to stay for one single night. At about 12.00 AM, the warden entered our cell and demanded us be ready to get out. Will we return to our original prison" we asked. No’ he replied " you are going on just a one-hour little walk and you will return back here but every one of you should take something to cover his neck because it is too cold".

Because I didn’t understand anything and because it wasn’t too cold, I got out of the cell without taking any such thing"
The warden surprised me by saying:" please, take something clean with you to blindfold your eyes instead of blindfolding your eyes with something unclean".
"Blindfold my eyes" I wondered "where are we going?".
Ayman Abdul Ghani (currently detained) called me and said: Abd Al-Moneim, they are likely taking us to Nasr City based State Security Police, may Allah support all of us.
Ayman gave me a T-Shirt and I blindfolded myself.
We went to the main prison hall accompanied by soldiers from the prison to be stunned by coarse voices ordering us not to speak and to leave our belongings in the prison.
I said to the one with a coarse voice:" I only have a holy Qur’an and prayer beads.

"No bastard, you won’t need them" he replied impolitely.
Then, the one with a coarse voice cuffed my legs and made me ride a car and ordered me to sit down and I sat in the same place I was standing up in, thinking that it is a prisoners car, to be stunned by a severe slap in my face ( a blow of a boxer) saying: don’t you see the chair son of a ….( bitch).
I said to my self: How can I see and I am blindfolded" and I was very terrified.
The vehicle which seemed to be a big bus moved.

Guantanamo Reception

Suddenly, the bus stopped and moved in a sharp slope as if it is going to a place underground.
Then, they ordered us to get out of the car while we were being showered with dirty insults and put us in a line.
Then came a man with a sonorous and coarse voice to say:" welcome, I’d like to inform you where you are …you are here in Guantanamo", adding": here, we have tortured the top militants of Al-Qaeda…You are here to know your real identity, bastards. Do you think that you are really a group…you are bastards here.

After that he said: Here you aren’t human beings; your just figures; any one who is asked about his identity and says his name will face hell.

That’s true; we were identifying ourselves through numbers; I was cellmate "25"; whenever any one was asking about my identity, I would say:" I am 25 sir" whoever forgets and tells his real name, he would be dealt a series of severe beating for forgetting his code name in the torture headquarters.

He ordered us to take off our shoes and our socks to remain barefoot throughout our 13-day detention in this place, with our faces to the wall; we remained standing up barefoot on the ceramic floor for more than about 14 hours; whoever fells on the ground out of fatigue would be helped to stand up with beatings and slaps.

When our cellmate, Dr. Mohamed Al Qadi, a university professor, shouted ate them, saying:" We want to perform the dawn prayers which passed since a while and we are still standing.
A guard or officer answered him: perform the prayers with your eyes, you bastard, you aren’t in a mosque here.
After the fourteen hours of standing up, they sent us to solitary grave-size cells; every one of them has a cement terrace, a primitive WC and a water tap.
After I entered the cell and closed the door, I tried to remove the blindfold, assuming that I will remove it while I am in the cell.
Suddenly, the door was opened ….I saw him and he saw me…He seemed to be a powerful stout a guard.
He directed several severe punches in my face and insulted me, saying:" Why have you removed the blindfold!!??".
Since then, I didn’t remove the blindfold during the 13 days to the extent that I was asking the interrogator during the investigation to fix it well lest it fall an I face more punches because they fear that I may see them.

The Prison System

I stayed during the 13 days in 2×3 m cell; I spent in it five full days sleeping, praying and using the WC while I was handcuffed from the back, except at mealtime the guard would make me handcuffed from the front. I was obliged to remain on this cement terrace all the time, including performing the prayers because the floor was not clean; I remained throughout this period without any sheet to cover me although we were in January, a very cold winter month.

We had three meals a day:

Breakfast: a loaf of bread with a very small piece of cheese, a smaller piece of halva, or five to ten grains of bean and a small piece of jam, the same has been served in the dinner.

As for lunch: it was a loaf of bread with a very small amount of rice and a small piece of meat or chicken.
A doctor was passing everyday in the mornings and evenings to cure any wounds and to give us tablets demanding us to swallow them.
I was throwing them in the WC immediately after he got out.
Every two or three hours, a guard was passing and I was obliged to stand up as soon as I see the door is opened.
If I lingered for a moment or two, I would be showered with a series of dirty insults and beating.
It was impossible to sleep in this cell: first because most investigations were starting at midnight until dawn; second: because all night long the guards were awake smoking cannabis and exchanging very dirty insults in extremely loud and troublesome voices.

The Investigations

In the first night in which I appeared before an investigator- definitely a state police officer, I was handcuffed from the back, blindfolded and barefoot, the investigating officer shouted at the guard and said to him: You donkey, when he comes here, before the investigation, he should be handcuffed from the front. At the beginning the investigator dealt with me in a decent manner, saying: We are sorry, Abd Al-Moneim on the methods here; this is actually our job and this is the system of the place; then he said:" you seem to be a respectable highborn man and don’t deserve bad treatment; and you will certainly help me and won’t lie to me" I was recognizing his method of affecting me to make me disclose the secrets of the group.

Suddenly, the interrogator stopped talking and silence prevailed, to be broking by screams coming from outside the room ; a man was screaming out of torture and saying:" stop torturing me, I will speak out, I will tell you everything, to raise his screaming again".
Then, the interrogator spoke again and said to me:" Sit down, you are tired" and I sat on the floor.

Then, he said again:" Do you know whose voice is this Abd Al-Moneim!!! – ( I was silent as I can’t speak out of extreme fear).
This is Ibrahim Al Dib(the owner of the house in which we were detained)" he said" because he is lying to us and doesn’t want to speak"
I felt that he was frightening me and threatening me to disclose everything I know about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Suddenly the door was opened with the man of the sonorous coarse voice who shouted at the investigator, saying:" How can you allow him to sit down" then he showered us with a series of dirty insults, and said: Start torturing him.

The investigator said:" excuse me sir, Abdul Moneim is a good guy and he will tell us everything"
I felt then that they are trying to intimidate me.
The investigations continued with me for eight consecutive days and they were held twice a day; he was asking me about every thing that I was doing in my life and what I was doing in the university (he had accurate tips); when I deny his charges or refuse to talk, I was severely beaten by the guard with the feet and fists; this was definitely taking place on a daily basis during the period of the investigation.

The investigation with me ended after eight days but I was held for more five days in my cell to increase the psychological pressure; I was also hearing the screams of my colleagues, and they were hearing mine, while they were beaten by the guard.

Ending Investigations

The investigations with all the group; they released us from cells in the middle of the night and gave us our shoes and we rode a bus which seemed to be the same that brought us here; but while returning, they ordered us to put our heads under chairs they covered us with blankets.
"Any one raising his head will be blown up" said a guard.

We returned again to the reception prison; the warden came to us and said that we will have a little walk and ordered us to remove the blindfolds to see each other for the first time after this long period.
In the morning, we returned to the first prison at Tora farm and we decided to inform the prosecution of what happened to us, the illegal kidnapping from prison and our facing physical and psychological tortures.

In the prosecution headquarters, Mr. Abdul Moneim Abdul Maqsoud, the lawyer who defended us advised us not to raise this issue because there were no signs of torture on our bodies and so that they don’t refer us to the forensic medicine that will never issue a report condemning the police.

We didn’t speak out and the prosecution ordered prolonging our detention that lasted up to six months and the last one of us was released later last June.

But our silence gave the state security police the opportunity to repeat the same crime against another case that involved some Muslim Brotherhood members in 2004 but one of them died of torture, Eng. Akram Zohairi.

The Group of 14 Case No. 56 High State Security of the year 2003

Engineer Ahmed Shousha – 48 years of Cairo (currently detained on Al-Azhar case) – a businessman.

Engineer Ahmed Mahmoud – 51 years- Suez- power engineer

Engineer Tarek Sobhi 49 years- Cairo- a businessman

Engineer Ayman Abdul Ghani 39 years- Cairo- civil engineer – (currently detained on Al-Azhar case, the fourth time to be detained since 2003).

Engineer Abdul Magid Mashali 32 years-Cairo- QC engineer- was detained in 2006.

Engineer Amin Abdul Hamid 35 years- Sharqiya – chemist.

Dr. Mohamed Al Qadi 35 years- Cairo- a professor in Helwan University

Ibrahim Al Dib 36 years- Mansoura – accountant

Mohamed Nagm 36 years- Cairo- accountant

Abdellah Ibrahim 25 years- Sharqiya – accountant

Mostafa Ismail 25 years-Al Fayyum – pharmacist

Tarek Abdul Gawaad 23 years-Asyut – Marketing manager

Mohamed Saqr 34 years- Mansoura – a sales manager

Abdul Moneim Mahmoud 23 years- Alexandria – journalist

The Day of the Black Soldier

This was my experience with the State Security Service; it recurred with other persons whether they were political detainees who were held without any legal foundation and some of them died of torture like Mossad Qotb who died of torture in the state security headquarters in Giza in 2002 and many undisclosed numbers of people faced death; torture hasn’t been confined to politicians only but suspects in criminal cases were tortured as well in the police stations; the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights picked up in one of its reports 41 typical cases of torturing citizens inside police stations including 15 deaths that the organization is nearly certain that the death was due to torture and abuse.
This was in one single report; torture in Egypt is a continuous policy and a method of a regime; so, we should expose them and publish the news of tortures every where.

I have a suggestion: that we show the torture cases to the Interior Ministry and the regime on 25 January, the Police Day, a day that honours all Egyptians, not only policemen.

But the state security gangs of Habib Al-Adli steal that day an attribute it to themselves and the country honours them although they are criminals.

Let’s expose this on this day and call it "the Day of The Black Soldier", and post on our web sites and weblogs the crimes committed by the Interior Ministry and its officers; let’s stage a vigil against the black soldier on 25 January.

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