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Human rights group condemns ‘attack’ on Kom Al-Deka detainees

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Security forces allegedly fired tear gas into a dorm full of minors, attacked protesting parents

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) released a statement Sunday condemning what it calls an attack on the Kom Al-Deka juvenile detention facility in Alexandria.

According to Mohamed Awaad, a lawyer with the ECESR, the 144 minors currently detained at Kom Al-Deka are expected to be moved to another juvenile detention facility in Cairo. The minors, who had access to a smuggled cell phone, called their parents and informed them of their impending transfer slated to take place on Sunday.

The minors from Kom Al-Deka, who are all “political detainees” arrested for protesting, blocking roads, belonging to a terrorist organisation and chanting against the military and police, were to be moved to a juvenile detention facility for criminals. Beatings and sexual assault are common in the Cairo facility, Awaad added.

The parents assembled at the Alexandria facility and protested the transfer “for fear of ill-treatment and torture,” the ECESR statement read.

The minors refused to leave their dorms for the same reason.

Awaad said security forces then attacked both the minors’ dorm and their parents assembled nearby. According to Awaad, security forces launched tear gas canisters into the dorm to force the detainees to evacuate. Security forces then attacked the parents, firing tear gas and arresting five.

Three were later released. One had a bullet in his leg.

“While the ECESR denounces security forces’ unjustified attack on the [Kom Al-Deka] and the detainees , which is a flagrant violation of children’s rights as guaranteed by the constitution and all relevant international charters and conventions, it calls for quick investigation into the circumstances of the infringement on minors and their families , and the release of the detained,” the statement read.

The statement also calls for allegations of torture and ill-treatment that occur at Kom Al-Deka to be reviewed and for the Public Prosecutor to examine decisions regarding minors detained for political activities.

The Associated Press claims that Egyptian authorities have arrested over 16,000 people since Mohamed Morsi’s 3 July ouster. On 25 January alone, independent monitor WikiThawra listed over 1,400 arrested. Many of those arrested face similar charges of “belonging to a terrorist organisation”, “violating the protest law” and “blocking traffic”.

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