The group No Military Trials is organising an event on 3 November to commemorate torture victim Essam Atta, at the intersection of El-Mansour and Mohamed Mahmoud Street at 7 pm.
Essam Atta was imprisoned in February 2011 following a military trial, he was sentenced to two years in prison for involvement in a brawl; on 23 October 2011 he was taken to the toxicity centre at Qasr El-Aini hospital and the next day his body was in the Zeinhom morgue. The Ministry of Interior denied Atta died of torture.
Mona Seif, activist at No Military Trials, wrote a blog post on Sunday listing facts she collected on Atta’s case; she published a part of Atta’s cell mate Sayed Ahmed Othman’s testimony:
“‘I’ll show you whether I’m a bastard cop or not’ and he insulted his mother. They took him to a room with a toilet and told him to sit down and shit and to put this hose into his anus. Essam refused. The detectives were standing there. They forced the hose into Essam’s anus until he was screaming and saying ‘Please, I’m bleeding’ and the detectives just struck him on the back of his neck. Then they brought a mixed bottle of mineral water, full of tap water and they put in about a quarter bottle of detergent into it, then cooking oil, and a quarter of a bag of salt and six cigarettes, they made him drink all that after he bled. He threw up everything in his stomach after that.
When we testified at the prosecution, they brought out four detectives, Ashraf Fathy, Osama Shalaby, and an inspector called Ahmed Farag. Other ranked officers were there, but I don’t know who they were. They said ‘Listen, forget all the stuff you read in the newspapers, you go in, and you do as we say.’
I’m worried that they torture me and my brother… this is what scared me and shut me up while I was in prison.”
At the toxicity centre there were no documents of Atta’s admission. At the morgue Atta’s parents and Dr Aida Seif El-Dwla, a doctor at Nadeem centre for victims of torture, were denied their right to attend the autopsy.
The officer who reportedly tortured Atta, Nour Abdel Hameed, wasn’t suspended pending investigation, which has led to fears he may pressure witnesses.
A report filed by another prisoner, Amr Rashad, accuses the same officer of torture and anal rape using a wooden stick. Seif suggested that Atta was forgotten and there was no public or media mobilisation about his case because he was poor.