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Initiative to stop ‘crimes of the regime’

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Human rights organisations call for sweeping action to crack down on recent wave of torture

The group highlighted in its statement that recent weeks have seen a sharp increase in violations by the Ministry of the Interior, especially of citizens detained in demonstrations and public protests. (File Photo) (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

The group highlighted in its statement that recent weeks have seen a sharp increase in violations by the Ministry of the Interior, especially of citizens detained in demonstrations and public protests.
(File Photo) (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

A group of 13 human rights organisations presented a 10-point initiative to stop the “crimes of the regime.”

The group highlighted in its statement that recent weeks have seen a sharp increase in violations by the Ministry of the Interior, especially of citizens detained in demonstrations and public protests. “While some of those crimes represent a continuation or return to a pattern of systematic and widespread torture that prevailed in the era of the former regime, some even exceeded those crimes,” said the group.

The statement criticised the presidency and other government institutions for not strongly condemning atrocities committed by the police and not seeking to hold perpetrators responsible.

“Repeated requests to open an investigation into sexual assaults were ignored,” they added.

The statement also expressed disappointment in the presidency’s lack of any official plans to restructure the Ministry of Interior or amend the Police Act, and actually pushing for more police powers as demonstrated in the current draft protest law.

The first point of the group’s initiative called for the dismissal of the interior minister and his referral to investigation for the killing of protesters from 25 January of this year up to the present day. The group also called for the immediate investigation into leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) for the detention and torture of citizens during clashes at the presidential palace at the beginning of last December.

They also called on the government to withdraw the current draft protest law and form an independent committee to carry out investigations of the deaths and injuries that occur by the hands of the police.

The human rights organisations also called for the publishing of a final report examining the killing and injuring of peaceful protesters from 25 January 2011, to 30 June 2012, after which investigations and recommendations from the report would be implemented.

The statement also recommended the formation of a group that would monitor detention facilities and subject them to random inspections to make sure they adhere to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

The group also called for intensive amendment of the penal code, and develop a plan for restricting the power of the police to ensure that their powers are used in a more responsible manner.

The last part of the initiative called for the dismissal of Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdallah and the appointment of a replacement through the Supreme Judicial Council in order to guarantee impartiality. Abdallah was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi through his 22 November presidential decree, in which he ousted Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud, who had previously held the post under former president Hosni Mubarak.

The United Group for Legal Aid to Victims of Torture released a report detailing incidents of torture that occurred between 1 December 2012, and 10 February 2013. During that period, the report claimed it collected data of 63 people that were killed by police, 28 injured, six imprisoned without rights, two electrocuted, one whipped, 29 raped, four had their heads shaved, four incidents of dragging on asphalt, 29 tortured in front of security personnel, 28 detained in illegal places, and two incidents of property destruction. The group said these incidents occurred in 16 different governorates.

The organisations that put forth the initiative included the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims and Violence, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Association for Freedom and Thought and Expression, the Centre for the Issues of Egyptian Women, the New Woman Foundation, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, the Overview of Feminist Studies, the Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child, the Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood, the Land Centre for Human Rights, and Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination.


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