June 26th, 2013 by Editor
Torture is one of the main violations of the basic human rights. Torture contributes basically to wasting the life of the victim, as well as causing a lot of psychological and social damages, which undermine his/her dignity with long lasting effects. Moreover, torture does not only affect the person directly tortured, most of the time, the effect spreads to affect the whole family of the victim. It represents an outrageous attack against the human right of body integrity.
Legal guarantees for freedom and personal safety (including body integrity) exist in the international conventions and agreements, as well as in the Egyptian Constitution. Indeed the newly drafted Constitution offers guarantees against torture through two articles. Its article no. 31 affirms that “Dignity is the right of every human being. Society and State both should guarantee its respect and protection. No person must suffer insult or contempt“; and its article no. 36 states that “Anyone who has been arrested, jailed, or restricted in his freedom in any form should be treated in a way that respects his dignity. He must not be tortured, threatened, compelled or harmed physically or mentally. He must only be detained or jailed in places that are hygienic and suitable for a human being and subject to judicial supervision. Any deviation from these instructions is a crime, punished by law. Any statement made under such illegal circumstances or under the threat of any of this shall be considered invalid and futile“. However, despite these international and constitutional guarantees, the crime of torture is still happening everyday in the Egyptian society.
This phenomenon is contrary to the demands of the 25 January Revolution which was mainly oriented against the practices of the security apparatus. The Ministry of Interior did not substantially change its practices for handling security issues. There is no change in the attitude of police officers or non commissioned officers towards the Egyptian citizens. Their power and their interest rely on the logic of violence and on the cruelty which leads to the use of physical and psychological torture. The policing practices are still the same, depending on torturing accused people for obtaining confession, information or even for revenge.
The central question here is, what are the main reasons leading to the persistence of the torture crime after the 25 January revolution; and why the elected president did not eliminate this phenomenon and erase it from the Egyptian State history in order to guarantee the dignity of each Egyptian citizen and to protect the fundamental human rights.
The spread of this phenomenon may be seen as the result of two main factors. Firstly, the legislative shortcomings: laws are inefficient in the treatment of violations from police forces in the interrogatory procedure. Egyptian laws are not providing an adequate protection to citizens. The second factor is the direct link between the police apparatus and the security doctrine which relies on violence, torture and detention to deal with citizens and activists for human rights. These observations lead us to think that a new revolution is necessary in Egypt to defend our rights.
EOHR monitored during the period 2000-2011 about 1051 cases of torture. For the single year 2011, there have been 694 cases. This is the very top of the period. The second place is occupied by the year 2010 with 53 cases and the third one by the year 2008 with 47 cases.
Numbers of torture cases
After the revolution, during the year 2012, EOHR monitored about 165 typical cases of torture suffered by citizens inside the police departments. Amongst them 17 death cases in which EOHR suspected that the death is due to torture and mistreatment. In addition the phenomenon of torture on women inside the police station has to be remarked, as well as their arrest and detention without legal justification. It concerned 12 cases (are not include the period of the Arab revolutions outbreaks and the cases of collective punishment and injuries).
The torture phenomenon has widely spread in the shadow of the Second Republic. The civil society organizations and the political movements monitored many violations concerning the human rights. More than 143 persons died in the era of Morsi, amongst them the martyr Mohamed El Gendy and Sameh Fawdeh. Many activists have been also arrested and imprisoned because of political issues; which challenges the State of Law. Moreover, torture has been perpetrated on detainees because of their political opinion about the failure of the demands issued from the 25 January revolution.
This is why EOHR is publishing a qualitative report named “Torture and Killings under the Second Republic” which deals with monitoring and documentation about the torture crime in Egypt.
By issuing this report, EOHR hopes that it will constitute an efficient tool for all civil forces and institutions in their work to stop torture. It also hopes that it will motivate both the amendment of laws in a way matching with the international conventions and the ratification of the Optional Protocol against Torture which allows the citizens to complain directly to the Committee against Torture and gives the right to the Special Rapporteur to visit detention centers.
The following report is divided like this:
(1) The crime of torture in the Egyptian legislation
(2) The crime of torture in the International Law
(3) Torture and killings under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi
(4) Study cases
(5) Conclusion and recommendations
Part 1: The crime of torture in Egyptian legislation
The Egyptian Constitution guarantees dignity as a right of every human being (article no. 31) and strictly forbids the use of torture or any degrading treatments (article no. 36).
Torture is also banned by both the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures, which also invalidate any confession extracted under such treatments. Article no. 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedures states that “no individual can be arrested or imprisoned without an order by the competent authorities in accordance with the law and has to be treated with respect for human dignity and should not suffer from any physical or psychological abuses”.
Three articles of the Penal Code deal with the penalties for a public servant or official accused of torture or cruelty towards an individual:
ü Article no. 126 states that the penalty for torture or the extraction of a forced confession is penal labor or a prison sentence between three and ten years. If the victim dies the perpetrator is tried for premeditated murder.
ü Article no. 129 states that the use of cruelty while in office which involves the humiliation or physical abuse of the victim is punished with a maximum of one year in prison or a fine of 200 Egyptian Pounds.
ü Article no. 280 states that the arrest, imprisonment or detention without an order by the competent authorities and in a way violating the respective regulations is punished with prison or a maximum fine of 200 Egyptian Pounds.
The shortcomings of the law and its effects on the spread of torture in Egypt
Although the Egyptian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Egypt ban the use of torture, the Egyptian legal system still lacks the necessary measures to efficiently protect individuals from torture and brutal or inhuman treatment. Nonetheless, the laws and procedures provide protection to victims after they had been subjected to abuse.
- A. Penal Code
Article no. 126 of the Penal Code about torture does not give legal value to the principles that should be governing criminal law guaranteeing the right to physical and mental integrity. It only covers incidences where torture is used to extract a confession by public servants and officials and does not apply to any other cases of torture.
Two important issues need to be addressed. First, neither the Penal Code nor Administrative Laws provides a clear definition of a public servant. The meaning changes in every article. However, a public servant in a torture case is usually a police officer or his assistants. The Penal Code punishes torture practiced by those in police station or detention center. According to Egyptian laws, the police officer who gives the order to his assistants to torture an accused is a criminal as the one practicing torture by himself.
In article no. 126 of the Penal Code the term public servant is qualifying all professions which derive from the State authority. The legal experts drawn from it two criteria: a public servant is anyone exercising in the State jurisdiction and anyone working in public services. This jurisprudential definition includes chiefs of village, deputies, guards and all police officers (whatever the rank in hierarchy).
But this article (126) is strongly criticized by the Egyptian legal experts and the national organizations for human rights because it does not offer the necessary and efficient protections to the integrity of individual. It does not match either with the international Convention against Torture, ratified by Egypt in 1986. Moreover, motivations for using torture against detainees are far more manifold than the single case of confession extraction. Torture is also used for revenge or in order to identify politically or ideologically the captives.
About the crime of using cruelty (article no. 129 of the Penal Code), this concerns trespass, malfeasance without causing injuries or mild violence which does not provoke disability, illness or disability to work more than 20 days. The sanctions for this crime are light, they are the penalties inflicted for a crime committed by an individual to another individual and not for a crime committed by the State or its agents against an individual.
The same mechanism is visible in the article no. 282 of the Penal Code which concerns the crimes of unlawfully arresting a person, threatening to kill him or torturing him physically. Penalties match with a criminal act between individuals and not with a criminal act involving the public authority. Sanctions in this case should be higher because the perpetrator is not acting as any individual but in capacity of public official.
Furthermore, articles no. 126, no. 128 and no. 282 do not provide efficient protections for the mental and psychological integrity of individuals. There are a lot of shortcomings. Firstly, about the victim identity: abuses against someone else than an accused are not considered by the article no. 126 as torture, even if the victim is from the family of the accused and even if these abuses happen in order to extract confession. Secondly, the definition of torturing: are excluded from the crime of torture any acts of intimidation, practicing excessively long interrogation, dazzling the victim during interrogation or sleep, permanently blindfolding or handcuffing the prisoner, threatening or using sound effects to influence the victim as disturbing repeated noises, screams of distress or pain from other tortured and voices of his relatives in defaming extracts. All these torturing methods are not effectively considered as torture by the article no. 282, except in the case of illegal detention. Likewise, the interdiction of eating or dressing and the placement in an isolate and unhealthy room are not included in the crime of torture.
However, the psychological torture is recognized if it provokes devastating effects on the physical integrity of the victim, causing the loss of his ability to distinguish and choose in situations of confrontation and letting him with a deep feeling of fear. But considering that the interrogation of the detainee has been held in an isolate place, away from any judiciary control, it would be hard for the victim to prove that he has been submitted to coercion in order to confess. And this is why the authority representatives use the mental and psychological torture.
- B. Code of Criminal Procedures
- 1. Insufficiency of the legislation to regulate Interrogation rules
According to articles no. 11 and no. 12 of the Convention Against Torture and to the comments of the concerned Committee about article no. 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “the State involved should, in addition to the description of the steps which would provide an efficient protection to individuals from acts prohibited by article no. 7, provide detailed information about the guarantees which ensure protection for vulnerable individuals.”
It should be noted that one of the efficient means to stop torture is the regular review and the strengthening of interrogation rules, instructions, methods, practices and conditions of detention. Measures should be taken to put the detainees in places officially recognized as detention centers. Their name, the place they are and the name of officials responsible of their detention should be conserved in a registry. This one has to be available and easily viewing for those involved, including relatives and friends. The date and the place of each interrogation should also be registered, as well as the attendants’ names. These data have to be accessible in the purpose of judiciary or administrative procedures.
The Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedures states, in its chapter on interrogatories, that when the accused attends to the first interrogation, the questioner has to prove his identity and then he must inform the detainee of the charge against him. However this Code does not provide any protection to the accused. There is no guarantee for his body integrity, neither against harassment through endless interrogations and nor against treatments influencing his will. This shortcoming is not present in the French Code of Criminal Procedures. The French law states that during the questioning of a person in custody a judicial officer has to be present to confirm in the registry the details of the interrogations (duration, intervals between two sessions, day and time of the entry in custody and of the release or the transfer to the competent authority). The detainee has to sign in front of this data. If he refused, the judicial officer has to mention the reasons of this refusal. This mechanism is a legal guarantee for the person in custody against prolonged interrogation.
The formulation of the texts concerning interrogation in the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedures is hasty and does not match with article no. 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Egypt, becoming thereby a full-fledged part of the Egyptian legislation.
- 2. No medical examination for prisoner immediately after his arrest and non-respect of his right to see a doctor
The right to a medical examination immediately after the arrest is one of the main guarantees which protect the accused from torture and mistreatments. However despite the fact that the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedures comes from the old French criminal law, it did not follow its recent evolutions. For example the Egyptian law does not provide the right to a medical examination guaranteed by article no. 64, paragraph 4, of the French Code of Criminal Procedures. This article states that the Prosecutor General must order a medical check of a person in custody any time it seems necessary. The medical examination is a right of the detainee after the custody delay of 24 hours and the judicial officer has to inform the accused about it.
- 3. Legislation fails to guarantee the rights of the defense and violates the principles of the Supreme Constitutional Court
The Egyptian Constitution affirms the presumption of innocence until the accused is sentenced guilty according to the rules of a fair trial and without prejudice to his right of defense. By the procedural rules governing the indictment the legislator must guarantee to any accused the fundamental rights of defense. These rules should be entirely respected and not be manipulated; they are the guarantee of the individual freedom against tyranny. Thus the indictment has to include a clear definition of the charge specifying the evidences. This has to be coupled with a sufficient possibility for the accused to give his point of view. Finally, if it is not acceptable to convict someone for a crime he has not been accused of, the same principle can be applied for all cases of charges without defense.
- 4. Inefficiency of the law to guarantee the right of the prisoner to remain silent
There is no text in the Egyptian legislation which provides explicitly the right of the accused to remain silent during the investigation. However the Egyptian Court of Cassation recognized this right to the detainee. It ruled that is legally right for a prisoner to abstain from answering if he wants; and this abstention should not create presumption against him. If he speaks to defend himself, he has the right to choose the time and the way whereby he expresses it. It is wrong if the judge conclude from the silence of the accused during the investigation of the Prosecutor General that he is guilty.
Part 2 : The crime of torture in the international law
The States have gradually criminalized the use of torture. Its ban started through a series of declarations and agreements related to human rights. Then, in a later stage, the criminalization of torture took place in the text itself of the Conventions rules thus becoming mandatory. And finally the international law turned into a preventive approach of the crime of torture through mechanisms which watch the practices of the States, in both war and peacetime. The international community established judiciary principles to stop impunity of the perpetrators of torture.
Definition of torture and the international agreements which criminalize it:
If at the first sight the definition of torture given by the international law seems broad. But taking into account the ethical specificities of each country, it seems more like the minimum on which the contracting countries were able to agree.
The Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture defines torture as to be “the use of methods upon a person intended to obliterate the personality of the victim or to diminish his physical or mental capacities, even if they do not cause physical pain or mental anguish”. Also according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, torture means “the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control” of the perpetrator.
Also, the project of the Arab agreement against torture and inhuman treatment (produced by the expert committee of the international institute for the penal sciences at Syracuse in Italy in 199) stated that “torture is a crime punished by the law and without limit of time”. This project was issued of the conference on human rights and justice in the Islamic penal system, organized in 1979 by the international institute. The conference conclusion was that the fundamental human rights, provided by the spirit and the principles of the Islamic sharia, protect individuals from forced confession against himself, brutal arrest, torture and other physical mistreatments.
Article no. 1 of the Convention Against Torture states that “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, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
From this definition it can be noted that:
– Torture concerns physical and psychological pain suffered by any individual, as soon as the damages are strong enough
– Torture is one of the intentional crimes; it means the penal responsibility of the perpetrator.
– The crime of torture concerns the actions committed by a public servant or by anyone acting in the name of the public authorities.
– Pain caused to a criminal as a result of legal penalties is not considering as torture
– From the title of the convention it seems dealing with all crimes of torture, mistreatments, harsh sanctions and inhuman abuses but in reality the convention is limited to the torture crime.
The international convention of 1984 differentiated torture and other mistreatments (beatings, abuses, etc). As we saw previously, the first article clarifies the definition of torture. Then the article no. 16 gives a general definition of other mistreatments: “Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” From the former definition, built at the international level, we can find three main elements which separate torture from other inhuman treatments. All international and global entities, as the Human Rights Committee or the Committee against Torture, and the regional ones, as the European Court for Human Rights, agreed on.
Firstly, the element of severe pain and suffering; the Human Rights Committee qualified as torture the following behaviors: the physical assault, electric chocks, simulated death, long-time standing, etc. These are behaviors provoking a sharp pain, physical or mental. This list is not exhaustive but the Committee insists on this decisive factor of strong suffering. While the European Commission approved some interrogation techniques as the long-time standing, hooding, exposure to noise and deprivation of sleep, food or drinking, which are considered as acts of torture with an impact of severe suffering.
Secondly, the element of prohibited purpose; there is torture when the motivation of the perpetrator matches with one of the prohibited purposes. According to the Convention against Torture, the list of prohibited purposes…. XXXX
Thirdly, the element of official status; the acts should be conducted by a person with official capacity. These applies for all persons in charge of law enforcement, including those exercising the police powers (especially the powers of arrest and detention), whatever appointed or elected, military or not (in the countries where the army assumes a part of the police powers), wearing official uniform or not and even members of the State Security are included. The official who gives the order to his assistants to torture is a criminal as the one practicing torture by himself. According to the Convention Against Torture the assistant must refuse to obey to a torture order.
The international documents criminalizing the torture:
The international agreements and conventions concerning the human rights affirm the right for individuals to freedom, body integrity and protection against all kind of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments. Regarding the rules which protect these rights, they are peremptory norms. It means that they do not need an international or national agreement to be applied since that the membership to the UN is submitted to the respect of a minimum and compulsory set of international conventions.
The Preamble of the UN Charter specifies that the insurance of dignity is an input for the organization of the international society. This spirit came from the context of post Second World War. It marks all the agreements on human rights which followed the UN Charter. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized the inherent dignity of all members of the human family. The article no. 5 prohibits submitting any individual to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments. However this prohibition of torture it is just a general concept without any compulsory rules, only a moral obligation for the States to respect and apply these principles. This declaration does not define the term torture and does not point out any penalty. Thereby even when the States try to apply it, it cannot be before the issuance of internal texts to enable its application.
Then the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 condemns torture in its article no. 7 which states that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation”. Contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this Covenant is, to the countries which ratified it, an international obligation. They have to respect this prohibition in order to protect their citizens from torture and other mistreatments.
In 1957, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners is adopted by the UN. Its article 31 states that: “Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences”. Thus, the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials of 1979 affirms in its article no. 5 that: “No law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, nor may any law enforcement official invoke superior orders or exceptional circumstances such as a state of war or a threat of war, a threat to national security, internal political instability or any other public emergency as a justification of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Torture is also prohibited by regional treaties, amongst them the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Article no. 3 of this convention states that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Similarly the American Convention of Human Rights of 1969 affirms in its article no. 5 that: “No one shall be submitted to torture” and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981 states in its article no. 5 that any kind of torture is prohibited. Also the Arab Charter on Human Rights of 1994, which did not enter into force, prohibited torture in its article no. 13. Finally torture is also banned by the international humanitarian law which includes the main conventions since the Second World War (including Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the additional protocols of 1977).
The international documents specialized on criminalization of torture:
The two fundamental texts dealing with torture and detailed rules are the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and the Convention Against Torture.
1- The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture
Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1975 (resolution 3452 (XXX)), it is the oldest international document which criminalize the torture. It describes torture as an “attack against human dignity” and as a deepening of cruel, inhuman or degrading mistreatments or punishments. According to its article no. 2, “Any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. This Declaration represents an important step in the criminalization of torture and other mistreatments. Many of the agreements which followed it have defined rules inspired from this declaration.
2- The Convention Against Torture
The text of the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1984 (resolution no. 39/46). It entered into force on June 26, 1987. It became the fundamental reference about torture. It is the main document for torture prohibition at the global level. It is composed of 33 articles containing detailed provisions on the prevention and suppression of torture. After the definition of torture in the first article, the first part states that the contracting States shall take the effective measures to implement the principle of the ban, in any territory under its jurisdiction. Torture must be strictly prohibited whatever the justification, even under exceptional circumstances as war or internal political instability. Moreover the obedience to an order from a superior officer or a public authority cannot be invoked to enable torture. The contracting States should not expel, return or extradite a person to another State when there are substantial reasons for believing that he would be subjected to torture. The States must also ensure that all acts of torture are qualified by its criminal law as offences, as well as any attempt to commit torture or any act which consists in complicity or participation in torture. These offences have to be punished by law by appropriate penalties considering the gravity of this crime.
Part 3 : Torture and killings under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi
Despite that the torture crime was one of the main factors which led to the 25 January Revolution, the first civil President after the revolution did not try to eliminate this crime or to conduct extensive investigations on torture crimes committed by the former regime.
It has to be emphasized that the 25 January Revolution did not eliminate torture and did not change the police strategy in dealing with citizens in police stations or detention centers (Practices of torture and terrorization inside the prisons are still the same). At the opposite the number of torture cases increased under the rule of Mohamed Morsi; and it can be said that the torture of activists under Morsi presidency is stronger than the torture of Islamists was under Mubarak. In most of the torture cases inside police departments concerning terrorization of innocent people, no investigation has been opened. Morsi neither tried to modify the legislative structure in order to fight this crime and stop impunity. He did not apply any legal reforms or policy reforms to eradicate torture in spite of the Parliament debate (before its dissolution) on reform proposals for harsher sanctions against perpetrators of torture.
It is clearly visible that torture and mistreatments did not disappear or even decrease. Security forces act in total impunity; they deliberately use the same methods and tools than under the former regime (as severe beatings, electric chocks, physical abuses or threats during detention to obtain information).
By a quick reading of Morsi ruling since he took the reins of the Second Egyptian Republic, it seems that Morsi exceeded all forecasts. During his first year of ruling, he achieved to outperform the former presidents through all indicators concerning human rights violations. He smashed his predecessors in terms of political detainees’ number. During the regime of Mubarak, i.e. 30 years, the number of political detainees reached around 18 000 individuals. During the single year of the Morsi presidency, the prisons received 3462 political detainees. If the President swore that he will not issue any decision to arrest an honest citizen, the imprisonment of activists on political charges cannot be denied. Many activists have been referred to the Criminal Court. The president had announced during the presidential race that under his rule, no political opponent will be imprisoned; but his reign began with the arrest and imprisonment of people demonstrating against him, as well as killings of opponents.
Torture incidents increased under the Second Republic, as well as death cases. Torture to death on an individual happens in two situations: when the victim invokes the revolution and when he asks about the legal justification of his arrest (as happened with Mohamed El Gendy).
The President Mohamed Morsi has catastrophically failed to learn from History. The regime of the ousted President Mubarak was a police state ensuring security through the killings of thousands of Egyptians and the arrests of any dissident. Thereby the number of people detained for political reasons had reached 18000. These repressive methods were the essence of the 25 January Revolution outbreak. However Morsi failed to eliminate these violations and instead, used them for disrupting the political forces.
Furthermore, when it comes to the political and civil rights under Morsi, it was not just activists who were killed for their political standpoints, but also many civilians were murdered. This shows that Morsi did not choose the judiciary to condemn these practices used by the former regime. He chose power rather than justice for the Egyptian people.
The report considered that Morsi, rather than learning from his predecessors, repeats the same mistakes. His ruling, which barely completes its first year, shows the similar sins. It is a repressive regime which does not listen to the opposition. The internal crisis is ravaging the political and social fabric of the Egyptian society. The dragging, beating and killing of dissidents allow us to affirm that nothing changed.
Part 4 : Study Cases
This part addresses a presentation of several typical cases of death, torture, repression and mistreatments which happened between the 30 June 2012 and June 2013. The studied period matches with the first year in power of the President Mohamed Morsi. The target is to stand on the wide spread of the torture phenomenon under his rule.
Here come several cases (these examples are not exhaustive):
First division: Death cases
1- Mohamed El Gendy – El Gharbya Governorate
On February 4, 2013, the activist Mohamed El Gendy (member of the Egyptian Popular Current) died, as a result of his injuries, at the hospital El Helal. He had been transferred to the hospital on January 28, 2013, at dawn, suffering from the deterioration of his consciousness and a drop in blood circulation.
He had been arrested during the events celebrating the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution. The Ministry of Justice said that his death is the consequence of a collision with a car on the 6th October bridge. On the contrary, the medical experts who examined his body found injuries and traces of torture. The only certificated witness was Sherif Bohayri, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and of its Youth group. He and his friends went to the Central Security Camp of the Red mountain to extract confessions from those arrested in the recent demonstrations and on January 28, 2013. After waiting 15 minutes inside the camp, a car transporting about 60 young people arrived. Immediately after that he went out of the car, Mohamed El Gendy had an altercation with a police officer about his arrest without justification. They separated him from the others and put him in a room. Then they started torture him, beating him with hands and feet and hitting him with an iron wire throughout his body. The Brotherhood youth conduct the torture on the others in a different room to force them to confess against the National Salvation Front.
2- Sameh Ahmed Faraj – Giza Governorate
On January 15, 2013, at 8 a.m., Sameh Ahmed Faraj went to the police station of El Warraq to inquire about the reasons of the detention of his friend Hassan Hamdi Abdel Hamid. In the afternoon, security agents came to Sameh’s house and informed his family of his death, resulting of a car accident. The family went immediately to the police station of Imbaba to have the accident confirmation; but the police officers told them that there is no one registered under this name here and that they should try at El Warraq police center. They went there and found many security officers; they told them that Sameh was at the public hospital of Imbaba. The family went to the hospital and finally found the victim body; he had marks of handcuffs on his hands and feet, severe swelling and abrasions to his neck suggesting he was tortured.
3- Karim El Omda – El Ghrabya Governorate
A police officer arrested Karim El Omda and wanted to bring him to the police center but Karim refused. Then the officer punched him in the chest hardly and, helped by others, put him in the police car. During the operation, the head of Karim hit the car badly. Several detainees were inside the car; the police officer tried to force them to witness for him that Karim died of natural causes. They all strictly refused. The car was closed, they could not see the police officer and neither the victim; except inside the car for the last breath of Karim. His family accused the officer of torture to death, contrary to the Security force story which affirmed that Karim El Omda died from a heart attack.
4- Saad Said – Giza Governorate
Saad Said has been arrested at home for a fight. Many baltaguia were present on the roof of the property in which lived Saad. At the police station, the assistant of the detective beat him. He required the Prosecutor General, who ordered a medical examination. However the police officers did nothing and this lead to the death of Saad Said inside the police department on November 24, 2012.
5- Mahmud Hamed Fahmy
6- Gaber Said Abdel Jayed
7- Gamal Ragab
8- Gaber Sayed Mohamed – Beni Suef Governorate
On July 2, 2012, a clash happened between some soldiers and a habitant of the village Abu Selim in the Beni Suef Governorate. Then a group of soldiers and officers from the military camp of Beni Suef came to the village and attacked people, destroyed kiosk, dumped goods on the road, smashed cars… This assault lead to the death of four villagers: Mahmud Hamed Fahmy, Gaber Said Abdel Jayed, Gamal Ragab and Gaber Sayed Mohamed.
9- El Sayeda Raza Shaat – Bohayra Governorate
On July 21, 2012, El Sayeda Raza Shaat was killed, being run over by a police car belonging to the Damanhur police section of Bohayra. This occurred while the police was arresting her son, naked, for a case of marital conflict. Standing beside the car, she begged the officer to let her son get dressed. He did not pay attention to her so she went in front of the car to make sure that he will see her and listen. At this moment, the officer ordered the driver to start the car. The forensic report no. 821 of 2012 states that “her injuries in the head and forehead, nose, face, chest, abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, lower limbs, left upper arm traumatism and traumatic frictions resulted from a collision with a solid object”; and the report concludes that the previous injuries led to “break the bones of the chest, sternum, ribs, liver, spleen, fractures of the thigh bone, left and right buttocks and right leg bones, because of a massive blood clot”.
Second division: Torture case
1- Mohamed El Sayed – Cairo Governorate
Mohamed El Sayed went to the police station for a traffic accident. Bumped from behind by a Microbus driver, he decided to invoke the law and he went with the driver into the police station “Shubra II” to take legal actions against him. After arguing inside the station, Mohamed decided to settle with the driver; but when they were about to leave the station, they were stopped by a police Lieutenant refusing the settlement. Because of their arguing, he mistreated them verbally, in a way punishable by law. When Mohamed El Sayed objected about his methods, the Lieutenant assaulted him, locked him into custody and then insulted his mother. The defendant documented these happenings, which upset the police officer even more. The police officer took Mohamed’s mobile phone, attacked him with a sharp object, and threatened to rape him inside his cell, indifferent to the law and its role as police officer.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the abuses on the citizen Mohamed El Sayed perpetrated by police officers.
2- El Sayed El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb, Hussein El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb, Hassan El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb and El Qotb El Sayed Mohamed Bagheh – Dakahleya Governorate
On April 26, 2013, El Sayed El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb has been wounded by gunshots. Many people were assembled in front of the police center Mayt El Nasser throwing stones and the security agents answered using live ammunition. The work place of Mr. El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb is located in front of this police center, he got shot. Suffering from injuries in the face and head, he has been transferred to the hospital. The next day, on April 27, 2013, he was asked to go to the police station to sign statements for his complaint on injury, but there he was dragged to the Prosecutor General of Mayt El Nasser. His sister, his younger brother, Hussein, and their lawyer went there to attend to the investigation with him. There, detectives and security agents dragged Hussein El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb into a transportation car. When his sister asked why, the answer was insults and beatings for her and her brother Hussein. The whole scene took place in front of the Prosecutor General headquarters. The next day, Hussein was back to the Prosecutor General office.
On April 30, 2013, at the sunrise, police forces took the third brother, Hassan, from home. When his uncle tried to ask the reason, he faced insults and immediately an altercation occurred between him and police officers. Then on May 1, 2013, police forces arrested the uncle, El Qotb El Sayed Mohamed Bagheh, at the Mosque after the midday prayer. The four detainees were charged of gathering, waste of public money, attempt of murder and possession of weapons. During their stay in the police center they suffered beatings and torture, they were shaved head hair and the uncle had the legs broken.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the incidents suffered by the brothers El Sayed, Hussein and Hassan El Sayed Abdel Hamid Ragheb and their uncle El Qotb El Sayed Mohamed Bagheh: illegal imprisonment, mistreatments, persecutions, break into the house and physical torture.
3- The detainee Amr Sayed Hashem Ahmed – Wadi Natrun prison
On May 13, 2013, EOHR registered the complaint of the detainee’s family. When his relatives visited Amr Sayed Hashem Ahmed in the Wadi Natrun prison, they discovered many injuries throughout his body. He told them that he has been assaulted by detectives as well as prison wardens. Immediately after the visit, the family went to the Prosecutor General office in Sadat city to file a claim (no. 2030 of 2013). When the prison wardens heard about it, they threatened the family to transfer the prisoner into one of the outlying detention center.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the incidents suffered by Amr Sayed Hashem Ahmed (mistreatments, persecutions, physical torture) and his family (threats).
4- Karim Abdel Salam Mohamed – Cairo Governorate
Karim Abdel Salam Mohamed was arrested under the judicial case no. 4780 of 2012 of the Boulaq El Dokor Misdemeanor Court. On June 13, 2012, he was acquitted by the Court but in the facts, he has not been released. On June 17, 2012, when his family came to visit him, they discovered his health deteriorated, many injuries throughout his body and clear traces of blood on his clothes. He explained that he suffered mistreatments during his detention. The family sent many declarations to the concerned authorities, including to the Attorney General (petition no. 7457 on June 20, 2012).
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the detention and the torture of Karim Abdel Salam Mohamed. It should be immediately released and submitted to a medical examination.
5- Karim Bayoumi Youssef Ahmed – Kaliobeya Governorate
On September 20, 2012, Karim Bayoumi Youssef Ahmed was going to his military service post, at the Kaliob recruitment office, when he saw a fight in the street. Police officers came and arrested people randomly; including Karim and despite that he was showing his military identification card. Once arrived to the police station, an officer asked him his card and broke it; then he has been beaten. Amongst his numerous injuries there are: facial contusions, superficial wounds throughout his body, redness of the eyes and bleeding nose. As the police department refused to inform the concerned military entity, the family reported the incident to the military police, which went directly to the police station. The military police found out that Karim was indeed detained there, contrary to what the police officers affirmed. However they refused to delivery him to the militaries. A complaint has been filled (no. 7129 of 2012 – Misdemeanor Division of Kaliob) after presentation to the Prosecutor General, which issued a decision of imprisonment for 4 days. On September 24, 2012, the Prosecutor General decided to renew the imprisonment of Karim for 15 more days pending the investigations; investigations which do not extend to assaults and torture that he suffered, neither take into account his point of view or the proofs of his injuries.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the physical torture suffered by Karim Bayoumi Youssef Ahmed. EOHR demanded to submit him to a medical examination, to punish the perpetrators of torture on him and to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
6- Tamer Abdel Hamid Mohamed Ali – Cairo Governorate
On January 15, 2013, Tamer Abdel Hamid Mohamed Ali was arrested by two officers of Qasr El Nil police station. In the station, at 1 a.m., many security agents wake up the detainees for an inspection. They stripped out the prisoners’ clothes and poured cold water on them. When Tamer protested against these degrading treatments, they beat him by hands, feet and belts throughout his body. Then they dragged him, face against the ground, outside of his cell and kept beating him for more than 30 minutes until he lost consciousness.
His family visited Tamer the same day at 8 a.m. They found him covered of injuries, including contusions throughout his body as well as abrasions and clots in the abdomen and legs. His family sent telegraphs to the responsible authorities and they reported the case to the Prosecutor General of Qasr El Nil for an investigation about the torture committed by security officers on Tamer.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the physical torture suffered by Tamer Abdel Hamid Mohamed Ali. EOHR demanded to submit him to a medical examination, to punish the perpetrators of torture on him and to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
7- Mohamed Youssef Ahmed Abdel Fatah – Cairo Governorate
On July 5, 2012, Mohamed Youssef Ahmed Abdel Fatah was in custody in Begada (?) police station when his family came to visit him and discovered that he has been physically assaulted, tortured, insulted and degraded in his dignity by police officers of the station. It led to a strong deterioration of his health which no longer allowed visits and talks. The family filled many claims and addressed several reports to the Prosecutor General, especially about submitting Mohamed to a medical examination, but in vain.
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the physical torture and degrading treatments suffered by Mohamed Youssef Ahmed Abdel Fatah to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
8- Mohamed El Sayed Fadel Suleiman – Giza Governorate
On August 18, 2012, Mohamed El Sayed Fadel Suleiman was in his shop, in Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in the area of Helwan Gardens, when suddenly a security force of Helwan police department broke into the shop. As he was asking the reasons, an officer beat him in the back with the rear of his arms and they put him in the police car. Inside they beat him again with their hands and feet throughout his body. They also extinguished cigarettes on his body. It resulted in many injuries: contusions on his back, arms and face, redness of his eyes, burn of the left arm caused by cigarettes and psychological effects caused by the sexual harassment. In the car, they kept beating him during a half hour until the Helwan police station. Then he was released without any investigation. Mohamed El Sayed Fadel Suleiman addressed many reports and complaints to the Prosecutor General, which answered to him to return to Helwan police station for filling a complaint (no. 8334 of 2012 – Misdemeanor Division of Helwan), registered by the Prosecutor General. Mohamed filled also another claim (no. 9858 of 2012 – Claims of the Prosecutor General).
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the illegal arrest of Mohamed El Sayed Fadel Suleiman and about the torture and degrading treatments that he suffered. EOHR demanded to submit him to a medical examination to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
9- Magy Ahmed Abdel Azim El Roby – Cairo Governorate
On January 16, 2013, Magy Ahmed Abdel Azim El Roby went to Road El Farag police station in order to file a claim about familial disagreements. A claim has been filed against her also. Then she was in custody waiting to see the Prosecutor General. However when they went to meet him, the other party to the conflict and her were released in front of the Prosecutor General office due to health reasons (she was suffering of shortness of breath and allergy). During her detention in the cell, she suffered of suffocation because of the lack of sufficient air source. She demanded to be placed in another place, more ventilated, and asked low-pressure medication for relegating her vertigo. The Secretary of police brought out Magy to conduct her to another cell but when the head of the police center saw it, he immediately ordered her return in the same cell. She refused, asking for bringing her medicine and oxygen tube before. Then he tightened her forcefully, she fainted one minute or less and when she recovered, the leader ordered to the soldiers to drag her into the cell. She was lying on the ground of the cell and he beat her putting his shoes on her face to mute her screams. After the distress appeals of detainees for her when she lost consciousness, a Lieutenant came and brought the medicine she asked and removed her in a more ventilated place.
Actions of EOHR: The organization sent a lawyer for the investigation and to register her testimony, in parallel of the magistrate of Road El Farag, for her complaint. Then EOHR submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the incidents suffered by Magy Ahmed Abdel Azim El Roby in detention (torture, insults and degrading treatments) to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
10- Nabawi El Nabawi El Sayed Salameh – Cairo Governorate
On June 13, 2013, Nabawi went to Shubra police center to inquiry on the detention of his brother. A police officer met him outside the station and forbade him the entry. In reaction of Nabawi’s insistence the officer answered by beatings, insults and kicking. Then he was lying on the ground, the officer dragged him into the police station and started again punched him causing many injuries on his feet, his face and his neck. He went to the Prosecutor General office to file a claim. Mr. the Chief Prosecutor sent him to the police station to complaint and to make a medical report. There he has been detained 3 hours, threatened and prevented to file a claim about the incident. However he has been able to do the medical report (no. 2853) and, finally, to complaint (no. 2893 of 2013 – Misdemeanor Division of Shubra).
Actions of EOHR: The organization submitted a report to Mr. the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior in order to start the necessary legal procedures for an investigation about the illegal detention of Nabawi El Nabawi El Sayed Salameh and about the torture and degrading treatments that he suffered, in order to ensure national and international regulations for human rights.
11- Raafat Fawzi Ibrahim – Giza Governorate
Raafat Fawzi Ibrahim, with several workers, went to his wife’s apartment to do some repairs. Then the owner came with many baltagia (thugs) which attacked him and the workers. He went to El Mantazeh police station to file a claim but there he was badly received; they arrested him, shifting from victim to accused, and then the officer attacked him verbally with a hail of bad words. Then he was transferred to the Prosecutor General office and from there to Mansheya court.
12- Karim Omar Mohamed – Cairo Governorate, 19-years-old
On May 18, 2013, police forces from Madinet Nasr area headed to Karim’s home to incriminate him for stealing a mobile phone. They attacked his family and hit his mother several times on the face in reaction to the man’s request for legal authorization or a personal ID from the officers, dressed as civilians. The officers could not arrest him on that day, as his district, “Wailey”, was outside their jurisdiction. However, they managed to get officers from the same district and repeated the attacks on his home on May, 21. Further fabricated charges were pressed on Karim and he was transferred to Madinet Nasr 1 Police Department, in which he was charged with the theft of the mobile phone under the judicial case no. 20213/2013 of Madinet Nasr 1 Misdemeanor Court.
13- Atef Taha Mahmud and Hossam Essam Hanafy – Cairo Governorate
Forces from Gamaleya Police Station attacked Atef’s workshop using firearms without legal authorization at the stupefaction of the locals. They took Atef and Hossam to Diwan police center. There the officers from Gamaleya tortured both of them. Atef was seriously injured; one of his ribs has been broken. When the family knew what was happening with them, they filed claims (no. 109 and no. 110).
14- Mohamed Darwish Khadir – Port Said Governorate
EOHR monitored the complaint of Mohamed concerning physical assault and insults against him. The claim says that “he was a detainee in Port Said prison accused under the judicial case no. 4666 of 2011. He was charged with kidnapping and resistance to the authorities. Proofs have been submitted to the Prosecutor General showing that Mohamed suffered torture and severe beatings. Mohamed accused one of Port Said Officers for getting him into it. The Prosecutor General accused the officer of using violence and cruelty toward Mohamed. The case has been transferred to the Criminal Court and the defender was placed under custody. During that period, the defender was met with extreme violence from one of the officers for revenge for having accused the officer of torture, resulting in many broken ribs. Torture also came in the form of prevention of visits, malnutrition, leaving him unclothed and with no medication. His family was notified by a fellow prisoner about the transfer of their son to Tanta prison”.
15- Mohamed Ragab Ahmed and his colleagues from El Azhar University – Assuit Governorate
An argument broke out between two of Mohamed’s colleagues and a shop owner in Assuit. Mohamed and several colleagues came to ask the reasons of this clash. The police informers which assisted to the scene called the police station Assiut 1. When the detective arrived at the incident place, he spoke with cousins of an involved in the clash and asked them to come to the station to file a claim about the incident. However during the discussion, another officer came and when he went out of his car, he started insults and verbal abuses against them. Then he took a whip and beat the wardens with, keeping insulting them. Then he asked police agents to take Mohamed and one of his friends into the car. They brought them to the police station and took in inside by the first door with beatings and insults until a bathroom. The officer ordered to his assistants to handcuff them and started to thump them on the face, hands, legs and throughout their bodies. Immediately after their release they filed a claim to the Prosecutor General (no. 2695 – Assiut 1 Administrative Court).
16- Mohamed El Shahawy – Kafr El Sheikh Governorate
Mohamed El Shahawy works as truck driver of Kafr El Sheikh. One day, during his work, two police cars followed him, forced him to stop the truck and to get down. They dragged him on the ground with severe beatings and insults; the officer forced him to kiss his shoes in the street, filming him. Then they put him in detention as an accused. It is only after the degradation of his health state that he has been transferred to the public hospital of Kafr El Dawar.
17- Ahmed Hamdi Abdel Rahman and Ahmed Hassan Mohamed Ibrahim – detainees at Tora prison
EOHR monitored the complaint of Ahmed Hamdi and Ahmed Hassan which says that they were under custody at Tora prison under the judicial case no. 49 of 2013. On May 30, 2013, they went to the Criminal Court of El Tagamo El Khamis for the hearing of their case. After the hearing they were put in the detention room of the Court waiting their transfer to Tora detention center. However a security agent of the Court came into the cell with some others and beat them. Ahmed Hamdi got a broken rib and Ahmed Hassan many injuries. They were transferred directly to Tora prison but there they refused them considering their wounds. They were transported back to the Court to register their injuries and finally returned to Tora detention center. They were placed in confinement cell without receiving the necessary treatments.
18- Ahmed Abdullah Hamdan Abu Shtayyeh – 33 years-old
Ahmed was arrested under the case of the attack against the police center El Arish 2 and detained at Tora prison. He told his family about torture that he suffered in detention which resulted in bursting one of his eyes. The family filed a claim to the Prosecutor General (no. 7639 of 2013) against the Major General Mohamed Ibrahim, the Minister of Interior, the Tora prison Director and the Chief of Tora Detectives. He accused them to be responsible for his loss of sight, following torture and abuse inflicted by the police inside the prison. According to the family, nothing happened, no investigation and no sanction for the perpetrators.
19- Mahmoud Alaa El Din – student at the El Minya University of Engineering
On March 23, 2013, Mahmoud was arrested by the Criminal Investigation force of El Minya police department. They took him and two of his colleagues, Yasser El Turki and Hossam Zahran, students in the same university. They accused them to have stolen 2 computers. They were pressed to confess a crime that they did not commit.
Mahmoud has been submitted to physical torture (beatings by hands, by sticks and repeated electricity chocks) in order to extract him a confession. Then they brought his brother to stamp the police declaration by force, because of the inability of Mahmoud to sign after he was tortured. After his release, he sent many complaints to the different authorities about the torture practiced by police officers.
20- Moatassem Ashour – Cairo Governorate
Moatassem is one of the wounded in the incidents of Mohamed Mahmud. He complained for torture by police agents of El Bassateen station. They broke into the kiosk he received in reparation of his injury caused by a sniper during the events of Mohamed Mahmud. Moatassem filed a claim to the Prosecutor General (no. 6459 of 2013) charging police officers with assaulting the workers of the kiosk, stealing 2000 Egyptian pounds and recharge cards and fabricating a case against him.
Conclusion and recommendations
In order to end torture in Egypt, EOHR asked repeatedly the competent authorities to urgently take the adequate procedural and legislative measures for ensuring the complete application of the International Convention against Torture. These measures are:
– The endorsement of the two declarations mentioned by articles no. 21 and no. 22 of the Convention Against Torture. Declarations whereby the UN Committee Against Torture is able to decide on complaints from states or individuals about a violation by Egypt of its commitments resulting from the Convention. The acceptance of those declarations would prove that the Egyptian authorities are ready to put into reality its commitments about the criminalization of torture and mistreatments in prisons and detention centers.
– The modification of article no. 126 of the Egyptian Penal Code in order to suit with the definition of torture in the Convention: any pain, physical or psychological torment without conditions about the motivation.
– The issuance of a law providing the right for the civil defendant to prosecute, in front of the Criminal Court, any crime against the personal freedom and the inviolability of the private life (including the crimes mentioned in articles no. 126, no. 280 and no. 282 of the Egyptian Penal Code).
– The cancellation of the Egyptian law no. 121 of 1956 which modified article no. 63 of the Code of Criminal Procedures. By this amendment, the right to bring a complaint against public servants has been restricted to public prosecutors. This law should be removed in order to come back to the previous system which allowed a private prosecution from the victim against public servants and officials.
– The publication of a law establishing a judicial police attached to the Ministry of Justice. Its missions should be the progress of justice and the effective application of the judicial decisions.
– The addition in the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedures of the right for the accused to have recourse to a lawyer during his interrogation in police departments.
– The immediate investigation of the Attorney General in the case of complaints from organizations and individuals about attacks on persons in custody.
– Implement an administrative investigation procedure in parallel to the investigation conducted by the Attorney General for irregularities committed against citizens by officers in police centers.
– Create a permanent and independent “mechanism” to allow judges, lawyers and doctors to examine all allegations of torture and to bring the perpetrators into justice. It includes the authorization to entry into detention centers and the free access to all data needed. Its target is not limited to the judicial issues but it also aims the framing of the political, social and psychological dimensions of the torture phenomenon inside the police departments. The final goal is to provide the efficient solutions to stop torture in Egypt.
– Set controls, standards and instructions fixedly to monitor the performance of police officers; especially in the departments charged of the link between agents and the service of career determination.
– Plan urgent training courses for police officers, and especially the ones working in Criminal Investigation departments, about how to treat the persons in custody.
Thereby human dignity and the main freedoms, ensured by the Egyptian Constitution and by international conventions about human rights, could be guaranteed to each Egyptian citizen. Finally, these measures should be support by the introduction of a course on human rights in the education curriculum of the police academy and in institutes and training schools which offer a professional preparation for police officers.
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