CAIRO: Suspects in what is known as the Zeitoun cell case reportedly told their defense team that they were tortured while in the custody of State Security.
State Security is holding the defendants in an undisclosed location and the defense team is only in contact with the seven detainees when they appear for questioning in front of the state security prosecution.
Lawyer from the defense team, Sayed Fathi, told Daily News Egypt, “They have been tortured, they told us as much when we met them and some cried when recounting the details.
He added that some of the defendants refused to say whether they had been tortured, a stance Fathi attributed to them having been tortured in sensitive areas of the body which they were too ashamed to talk about.
One defendant previously told the lawyers that he was subjected to electric shocks to his ears, nipples, penis and testicles while tied naked and splayed to a bed.
The detainee, a university student, appeared extremely disoriented when appearing before the prosecution, something all the detainees had in common, Fathi said.
“The detainees are being interrogated in abnormal circumstances, we still don’t know where they are being detained and the prosecution has no qualms questioning suspects who obviously appear before them in a state of great distress, he said.
Numerous requests submitted to the Public Prosecutor, State Council, Minister of Interior and the President by the defense team to locate the whereabouts of the detainees have been ignored.
The 26 defendants, accused of forming the Zeitoun terror cell, are currently being referred to the state security public prosecutor’s for questioning on their involvement. Investigations since the start of Ramadan typically begin at 9 pm and continue till 2 am, Fathi said, predicting that the referrals would continue for at least another two months before a trial begins.
One of the detainees held by State Security was recently identified as a faculty member of Al-Azhar University. Ahmed Sayed Nassef is an assistant professor at the faculty of agriculture in Al-Azhar University; he was arrested along with 13 others on July 2 in the initial sweep of arrests that later became known as the Zeitoun cell.
State Security announced on July 9 that 25 Egyptians and one Palestinian had formed a terrorist cell which was responsible for the murder of four Coptic jewelers in the district of Zeitoun May 2008 and was planning other attacks, including bombing the Suez Canal.