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Police used to protect authorities: anti-torture campaign

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Nation Without Torture campaign displays recent police brutality against citizens

Nation Without Torture commemorates the first anniversary of torture victim Essam Atta. (PHOTO BY HASSAN IBRAHIM)

Nation Without Torture commemorates the first anniversary of torture victim Essam Atta. (File Photo by Hassan Ibrahim/DNE)

Nation Without Torture campaign stated on Wednesday that the state authorities use the police as a repression tool against citizens.

In a press conference held at the Press Syndicate, the anti-torture campaign hosted a number of victims to share their stories of being subjected to torture by police.

“We displayed different violations practiced by the Ministry of Interior such as torture and abduction,” said Ahmed Al-Masry, Nation Without Torture member. Al-Masry was himself subjected to torture and detention in 2011.

The conference hosted the families of alleged torture victims such including Khaled Said, Essam Atta and Mohamed El-Gendy, all allegedly tortured to death. Said died from torture during Hosni Mubarak’s regime and Atta during the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) rule. El-Gendy’s death occurred most recently under Mohamed Morsi’s presidency.

“The campaign offered substitutes for torture that can be used by the police to get confessions out of suspects,” Al-Masry said. “As long as the police resort to torturing suspects, then they don’t have enough evidence to incriminate them.”

In a statement released during the press conference, the campaign cited articles within the new constitution that incriminate torture. Article 31 states that dignity is an inherent right respected and protected by the society and the state; humiliation or contempt of any human being is prohibited. Article 36 also states that the dignity of any detained citizen should be preserved, prohibiting torture, terrorism and physical or psychological compulsion.

In a phone interview with independent news channel ONTV, Hani Abdel Latif, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, denied police officers use torture following the 25 January Revolution. He stated that the police would never return to the brutal methodology adopted before the revolution, and added that torture stories surfacing recently are “false claims and written scenarios”.

“The people have chosen the current regime and brought it to power,” said Abdel Latif. “Do not punish us for your choice.”

He added that if the police withdraw from the streets, a civil war would break out. “Keep the police out of the political struggle currently reigning over the country.”


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