Torture Remains a Crime Without Punishment

January 8th, 2011 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Demands the Immediate Investigating of the Death of “Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Sayyid Bilal” in Alexandria Governorate by the General Prosecutor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its grave concern over the death of citizen “Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Sayyid Bilal”, 31 years old, who is a worker in a petroleum company in Alexandria. His death was caused by State Security Investigatory Unit of Alexandria which leads EOHR to demand that the general prosecutor will start an immediate investigation of the incident, and will order the speedy arrest of those responsible for it in order to put them on trial.

The information received by EOHR on the morning of Saturday, 8/1/2011 by the family of Bilal have stated that: “on the morning of last Tuesday, Bilal has been summoned by the State Security Investigatory Unit of the old Security Directorate in Alexandria Governorate to be asked about some details. He stayed in the directorate until Tuesday evening as he was also being interrogated about the Al-Qidisin Church.” The family added that: “On Wednesday evening, we received a phone call from Qailah medical center which follows Al-Labban police station telling them to come to receive the body of Bilal. When the family went to the station, they have been told that two strangers brought Bilal dead.”

In further statements made by Bilal’s family to the lawyers of EOHR, they stated that: “through examining the body, marks of torture have been evident as intense bruises were scattered through the body of Bilal. On the morning of Thursday, 6/1/2011, the family has made a report to the general prosecutor registered under number 88 for the year 2011 in the administrative section of Al-Labban where they openly accused the State Security Investigatory Unit of Alexandria of causing Bilal’s death.”

On his side, Mr. Hafez Abu Saeda, the chairman of EOHR, has stressed that there are strong doubts that the death of Bilal is a result of torture. If such doubts were believed, they are then considered a violation of the most sublime of human rights which the right to life protected under the constitution and the international conventions concerned with human rights. He demanded the immediate investigation in the incident and the speedy trial of the offenders. At the same time, he emphasized the necessity of abiding by the standards of human rights and the right to fair trial for whoever is proven to be involved in the bombings of Al-Qidisin Church in Alexandria. This should happen within the framework of reconciling combating terrorism with the protection of human rights especially the right to fair trial protected under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  

Abu Saeda has emphasized that there is legislative shortcoming in the Egyptian law when it comes to defining the crime of torture in a way that is not compatible with the International Convention Against Torture which defines torture as every pain or physical or mental torment done for any purpose, not only for the purpose of getting confessions as stated in the Egyptian law. He stressed that this shortcoming leads to offenders’ escape from punishment.

Abu Saeda has demanded the issuance of a legislation that would protect the right of civil prosecutors to directly bring charges before criminal courts in the crimes of violating personal freedom or citizens’ private lives including the crimes detailed under the articles of criminal law number 126 which punish those who torture suspects to get them to make confessions in addition to articles 280 and 282 which punish arbitrary arrest.

The chairman of EOHR has invited the parliament to adopt the draft bill prepared by EOHR to combat torture inviting the government to immediately respond to the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council in Geneva regarding torture which include the amendment of articles 126 and 129 of criminal law to be compatible with the International Convention against Torture in addition to joining the optional protocol regarding combating torture, inviting the Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Egypt and amending the prisons regulations.

Within that context, EOHR appeals to the general prosecutor and the minister of interior to adopt the police of putting torture offenders on speedy trial hoping that this police would limit the spread of such crimes inside police stations. Also, EOHR has renewed its demands that the minister of interior would issue strict instructions to the individuals of the police apparatus to stress on the necessity of abiding by the rules of the constitution and the law when it comes to dealing with citizens, and punishing those who violate these rules to ensure the right to personal security and physical safety to which citizens are entitled.

It is noteworthy that EOHR has established a network of lawyers to provide legal support for the victims of torture in the different Egyptian governorates in October 2010 as part of the EOHR’s campaign to counter the crime of torture launched in June 2010 under the title of “Countering the Escape from Punishment”.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 at 11:01 am and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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