Ranging from deliberate killing of protesters to illegal arrest and detention of civilians, extra judicial killings, terrible torture techniques, death in police custody, unfair trials and restriction of freedom of speech and association, Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al Sisi is a nightmare as regards human rights.
I was shocked to discover the extent of disregard for human rights, human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by Egypt’s present Government; crimes of which the ‘West’ is guilty of complicity by its continued support of the Egyptian Government and funding of its military without raising concerns about the terrible human rights situation.
Many people have heard news about the Government’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, its supporters and other political opponents but you might not known is the extent to which the Egyptian Government goes.
Recent reports show that Egypt’s Government has deliberately killed many protesters, who are mainly supporters of ousted President, Mohammed Morsi, and illegally detained and tortured many other protesters and those considered as ‘anti-government’. More than 40,000 people were detained and 80 people have died in custody in the first 10 months after the coup that overthrew Morsi and present regime is said to be using methods of torture from “the darkest days of the Hosni Mubarak era”.
Hundreds of “disappeared” Egyptians are being tortured and held outside of judicial oversight in a secret military prison in Azouli.
One of the most shocking cases documented by Amnesty International was that of a 23 year old student arrested in February 2014 near Nasr City in Cairo. He said he was held for 47 days and was tortured and raped during his interrogation. He is currently out of prison but the case is still pending.
“They cut my shirt, blindfolded me with it and handcuffed me from behind…they beat me with batons all over my body, particularly on the chest, back and face…Then they put two wires in my left and right little fingers and gave me electric shocks four or five times,” he said.
He also gave a horrifying account of how he was sexually assaulted and raped.
“The national security officer caught my testicle and started to squeeze it… I was screaming from the pain and bent my legs to protect my testicles then he inserted his fingers in my anus… he was wearing something plastic on his fingers… he repeated this five times,” he said.
He also reported being beaten on the penis with a stick. He was then raped repeatedly by one or more security guards.
The present Government of Egypt is gradually ruining the justice system by influencing trials in order to achieve ‘politically motivated’ verdicts. An example is the sentencing of 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death. Most trials are unfair and even people less than 18 years are sentenced to jail, which is a violation of international laws. Most of the so called confessions used during these trials are forced confessions resulting from days or weeks of brutal torture. Al Sisi’s government is also very keen on controlling the information that reaches the public and this has led the Government to severely abuse Freedom of Press. Freedom of Press in Egypt is at an all time low, especially with the case of shabby trial and conviction of the Al Jazeera journalists, which caused a lot of criticism and outrage.
The truth is that Egypt Human Rights Record under Al Sisi is not so much better than the Housni Mubarak regime. The present Government still employs brutal torture methods that were used during Mubarak’s regime, civilians are illegally detained and unfairly tried, some even die in detention due to extreme torture techniques employed. When I read Egypt’s response to the allegations by Human rights watch, I was disgusted. It read: “Human Rights Watch “does not enjoy any legal status that may allow it to operate in Egypt. Conducting investigations, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses without any legal backing are activities that constitute a flagrant violation of state sovereignty under international law.” This response doesn’t give any meaningful response to the allegations of gross human rights violations. To me, it only implies that the Government of Egypt feel they can do anything and they aren’t accountable to anyone. It is however sad that U.S, Britain and other Western countries continue to support this terrible administration without raising concerns on the terrible human rights record.