Torture Officers’ Accountability, Permanently out of Service
-Sobhi Saleh: Torturing in police stations carried out on orders from senior officials
-Saad Abboud: How does government punish its officers for things it ordered them to do?!
– Dr. Majdi Qorqor: The citizen always fears police cruelty
– Abu Seda: Security hegemony makes officers think they are above law
Torturing has mushroomed in Egyptian police stations and state security headquarters, which confirms that torture crimes are not just individual violations erroneously committed by individuals. The
Torturers aren”t the only ones to blame, the entire government must be held accountable as well. Also held accountable is the regime that gives policemen limitless powers and immunity with no supervision or accountability.
Also held accountable and blamed is the Egyptian regime that does not sack officials whom justice proved to be torturers, the regime that gives a blind eye to its affiliates violations to laws and traditions and and even indecent actions, a regime that gives a deaf ear to calls of organizations and individuals stunned by such actions. This regime must be held accountable for this crime of torture. Systematic tortures are committed by Interior Ministry”s bodies as a disciplinary and punitive instrument against many sections of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian police service has granted itself the right to pick out those- it sees- who deserving intimidation or humiliation. To punish people, it allocates detention places, torturing tools and limitlessly prolongs detentions without any legal or social basis under the emergency law.
Ikhwanweb has met politicians, men of law and human rights activists to know their views towards torturing in prisons of Habib Al-Adli and his prot?©g?©s. They confirm that torturing is systematic in Egypt , a tool that the regime never abandons:
The regime”s prot?©g?©s
Saad Abboud, a member of the People”s Assembly, stresses that torturing is a systemic phenomenon in Egypt . It has been uncovered only recently. He adds that in the past was the media or the press werenâ€™t given information about this phenomenon but it is different now. People have become bolder and report such crimes committed against them.
He adds that the regime protects officials who commit torture cases through covering up cases or sending lawsuits against them to courts whose judges give light sentences. “How can the regime punish its officials for things it ordered them to commit?!” he wonders. “The officers create numerous means of torture. They do not leave traces of torture on bodies of victims so that the forensic medicine can”t document them, to provide loopholes through which the regime”s lawyers manage to have their clients cleared from such lawsuits. Abboud confirms that policemen still believe that insulting and using other kinds of torture against the accused are the optimum solution to deal with them, disregarding the human right to protect his body and dignity.
Dr. Rafik Habib- a Coptic intellectual- divides torturing in Egyptian prisons into three parts: First: Systematic violence committed by the police against political detainees to achieve political targets. Second: The violence committed by policemen against the accused as a means to make them confess to crimes and for criminal investigations. Third: The individual violence which has become usual and normal among policemen as a logical result of both previous kinds.
He confirms that violence has reached such a flagrant level because the Interior Ministry officers commit such crimes and no one hold them accountable for them. “No one asks them: What are you doing?! Because they know very well that torture is the method that the regime wants to be used against the accused.
He also attributes the use of violence against citizens to several factors: that the police adopt violence as a key means in investigations. It uses it also against political critics. Also, the regime uses torture and violence in elections. He points out that violence has become a prevalent phenomenon in the police community, an ordinary action committed in police stations with or without reason. This made these officers get used to and be familiar with it.
Habib warns that the police use of violence and torture against political detainees eventually leads using it with or without any justification. “There is a widening gap between policemen and people. This appears in the policeman”s feeling that he has huge powers that endow him a feeling of superiority over all section of the society. This makes him refuse to accept that any one stand in front of him to demand his right or to criticize what he says or does. This is the result of the Egyptian regime”s dependence on security as a core administration in rule and control over the society.
On the other hand- Habib adds- ordinary citizen feel that policeman pose a threat to him and the society. Citizens” feelings have gradually turned into hatred towards policemen. This made the policeman justify torture as if it is a means to restore his prestige among a society hating him.
The State of Emergency Contributes
Dr. Majdi Qorqor, the assistant secretary-general of the Labour Party, says that torture in Egyptian police stations has exceeded limits and it can no longer be called an individual behavior. It has become a phenomenon that can be clearly observed in prisons, police stations and in the street as well. He points out that the Egyptian citizen can”t protect himself from police toughness and harassment in the street, let alone prisons. He pointes out that such phenomena are prevalent because there is no real supervision over these officers, and there is no accountability even after some officer were caught red-handed committing such crimes and the regime and government sough to cover up these crimes that convict not only officers but also the minister and the Prime Minister who represents the military ruler in Egypt.
Dr. Qorqor stresses that the emergency law is a crucial factor that helped this phenomenon to break out. He points out that most policemen were born, brought up, graduated and worked under this illegal law. Lao, seniors of these officers spent the most of their career in serving under this law. He decries the legal violations and policemen”s belief that torturing and cruelty are key methods in investigations and to make the accuse give information. He points out that this is not legal, it is rather expected under the law of emergency and the full state of tyranny in Egypt . Add to this the fact that the officers donâ€™t know any methods other than torture. He also said that torture has become systematic to the extent that there is an exchange of experience and a concern for not allowing torture incidents to be leaked through preventing for example the mobile cameras that have recently uncovered a few cases.
Humiliation to Citizens
Sobhi Saleh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, confirms that torturing has become systematic in police stations and that it has become a policy of a regime and government, rather than an individual mistake committed by an officer or a police centre commissioner. He says that torture is fully approved by the regime against anyone facing the police. He proves this with the ongoing tortures and murders inside prison cells and in state security headquarters without interrogating the perpetrators or holding them accountable. Asked about his role as a member of parliament towards these crimes, he says he can only interrogations, written questions and fielding no-confidence motions against the Interior Minister because he is the number one responsible for all these violations. Saleh summed up saying:” Police practices will eventually lead to a popular revolution against the police and the regime”.
Dr. Imam Hassanein, an expert at the criminal and social research center, confirms that there is a real crisis and a controversial relation between policemen and citizens. The policeman sees himself as the top security guard in the country and no one should face him. Ordinary citizens skeptically look at the officer and consider him tyrannical and unjust. Dr. Imam adds that no is above law, and no one can flee punishment and accountability. However the real evidence is proving the torture charge. He points out that some officers believe that the use of torture and cruelty are optimum means to illegal take recognitions although this method is legally unacceptable. Also, these recognitions are eventually fabricated and can”t be approved by the prosecution or court and the accused can disavow them as long as he said that under torture.
He points out that torture cases can”t be proved one hundred percent. The officer torture the accused to make him confess and the accused may resort to injuring himself or distort his body to accuse the officer of torturing him until he is quit. A full separation is possible if there is a row between the officer and citizen. He stresses that the increasing torture cases is attributed to not applying law not revealing how far the narration is valid. Not investigating such cases threatened people and social security.
Human rights violations
Hafez Abu Seada, director general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, says:” What happens in Egyptian prisons is a mistake, a flagrant violation to freedoms of citizens. He points out that committing torture crimes is normal in Egypt . “Torturing citizens and violating their rights is systematically carried out by the Interior Ministry to intimidate the citizens. Abu Seada wishes that article 126 of the penal code shall be applied against officers instead of article 129 because what happened and what is happening are clear murders. He points out that Egaypt should do many things to move from the age of tortures to an age of democracy and freedom.