The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) denounced on Tuesday “the torture and ill treatment” of several students from Al-AzharUniversity’s Faculty of Medicine in Assiut. According to the statement an altercation occurred between students, including Ahmed Raga Ahmed Hassan, and local shopkeepers, after which police arrived to investigate.
The police asked the parties involved to go to the police station to give their testimonies, at which point another police officer began hurling insults at the students. EOHR said that once the students arrived at the police station they were beaten by officers.
EOHR stressed the need for the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Interior to open an investigation into the torture of Ahmed Hassan and his fellow students. EOHR also said the identity of those involved in the torture should be revealed and they should be suspended from work until investigations bring them to trial.
The torture of Ahmed Hassan also violates several international agreements on human rights, EOHR said.
“The behaviour of the officers in question is unacceptable under any pretext or circumstance,” the head of EOHR Hafez Abu Saada said, adding that torture is inconsistent with the Egyptian constitution.
Abu Saada said the government should take a firm stance against all those responsible for such acts, stressing that such behaviour did not correspond with the achievements of the 25 January, 2011 revolution. He also called on everyone in Egypt to take a firm stand against the practice of torture against citizens and respect the rule of law and human dignity.
EOHR demanded the government ratify the International Convention on Torture, declaring its commitment to Articles 21 and 22 of the Convention. The organisation also demands the establishment of an independent body for the prevention of torture through the use of a presidential decree.
EOHR also demanded the government allow representatives of civil society to visit places of detention in order to monitor authorities and the extent of their respect for the rights of the detainees. EOHR also called on the government to approve an official visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture to monitor the government’s respect for international standards.
The organisation also demanded the government begin the immediate restructuring of the Ministry of Interior and create draft laws amending the articles of torture in the Penal Code to conform with international human rights laws.