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Shura Council detainees go on hunger strike amid claims of ‘torture’

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Lawyers say court decision not clear but another hearing will take place withing the next week

Egyptian policemen detain a protester during a demonstration organized by the group "No Military Trials for Civilians" in front of the Shura council in downtown Cairo on November 26, 2013 against the new law passed the previous day regulating demonstrations  (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Egyptian policemen detain a protester during a demonstration organized by the group “No Military Trials for Civilians” in front of the Shura council in downtown Cairo on November 26, 2013 against the new law passed the previous day regulating demonstrations
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Update: Judge renews detention for 15 days pending investigations

 

Twenty-Four men detained in front of the Shura Council building on Tuesday told lawyers in court on Thursday they have begun a hunger strike and that they have been beaten by the security forces both during and after their arrest.

Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) lawyers attending the detention renewal hearing reported that the men claim they were beaten during their arrest on Tuesday and their subsequent detention.

Mahmoud Bilal, an ECESR lawyer said that the decision by the court on Thursday was not yet clear. He said that there could be another hearing on Saturday but if Thursday’s decision is appealed the hearing could take place on Sunday or Monday.

ECESR announced the allegations of abuse on Twitter stating that the defence team for the detainees withdrew from the hearing “in protest to the detainees being tortured,” adding that the men also declared a hunger strike.

Bilal, who saw the detainees on Thursday confirmed that the detainees had been beaten and had some bruising as a result. He named Hossam El-Dabaa, a police officer from the Third New Cairo police station of being responsible for the beatings.

Bilal said that the court decision was not entirely clear but he confirmed that another hearing had been set for Saturday.

The 24 men were arrested during a No Military Trial protest outside the Shura Council building on Tuesday. The Ministry of Interior had not approved the protest and under the newly ratified Protest Law the police forcefully dispersed the protest.

The move has prompted domestic and international concern over the law and its implementation. Female activists who were detained and released on Tuesday claim that they were released in the desert after being driven around by security forces. The Ministry of Interior denied the allegation.

There have been calls for the government to amend or rescind the law from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights and Al-Nour Party.

The Cabinet had said that a committee would be formed to look at amending the law, however it later backtracked saying there were no plans to amend it.

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane


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