The Muslim Brotherhood’s responsibility for escalating violence and terrorising citizens should not implicate security forces in practices that violate the newly passed constitution, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) said Wednesday.
In a press statement, the party condemned alleged torture that took place at detention facilities where those arrested on the backdrop of the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary are kept.
Of the 1,079 people the Ministry of Interior arrested on 25 January, at least 79 are being held at Abu Za’abal Prison. All 79 have reported being subjected to torture, their lawyer Mahmoud Belal said.
The ESDP called for an immediate investigation into the torture reports, which have been backed by a number of human rights organisations, warning that such “illegal” practices could “threaten the process of building a state that respects the law.”
“The practices, which have harmed several innocent people, offend security apparatuses and widen the rift between them and the people,” the statement read. “The practices also push the people to sympathise with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The party urged the prosecution to do their duty and “neutrally” investigate the torture accounts.
“Let everyone remember that torture is a crime not subject to a statute of limitations,” the statement read, citing Article 52 of the new constitution. “The perpetrators of such crimes will be legally persecuted sooner or later.”
The Misr Al-Qawia (Strong Egypt) Party also condemned the state’s violent practices in a statement released Thursday. The party said Egyptians are living in a “republic of fear” and experiencing “the worst human rights violations Egypt has ever witnessed in its modern history.”
The party harkened back to the forcible dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit in on 14 August, 2013, which it described as “the gravest act of illegitimate mass murder,” echoing the words of international watchdog Human Rights Watch. Misr Al-Qawia also brought up the death of at least 37 detainees after being reportedly tear gassed inside a police vehicle on their way to Abou Zaabal Prison on 17 August.
“Comparing the current times to the times of [former President Hosni] Mubarak has now become out of context,” the party’s statement read. “Those wretched times had not witnessed the kind of torture we witness nowadays inside prisons.”
The party condemned the “revealing silence” of national rights councils such as the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), the National Council for Women and the National Council for Motherhood and Children.
Members of the NCHR met Monday with human rights lawyers and representatives from political movements to discuss torture complaints by those detained during the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution. They later announced plans to submit a memorandum detailing the torture accounts to interim President Adly Mansour, interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi and Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat.
Most of the more recent torture reports emerged from Abou Zaabal prison, a detention facility lawyer Belal described as “inhumane” and “notorious for torture”.
Detention conditions for those arrested on the revolution’s anniversary have been condemned by several human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, the Nation without Torture Campaign and the Freedom for the Brave Campaign.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, a group of 16 domestic human rights organisations accused the police forces of torturing and sexually assaulting detainees.
The Ministry of Interior, however, denied torture allegations reported by those who had been preventively detained. In a statement released on Tuesday, the ministry expressed its readiness to receive complaints from inmates, adding it will look into such complaints and take “decisive measures” against all those who are found complicit in committing “violations or delinquencies”.