Amnesty International (AI) on Feb. 17 released a report asserting new evidence that the the Supreme Military Council of Egypt has been torturing protester-detainees. Through various detainee accounts, AI stated that individuals were tortured “to intimidate protesters and to obtain information about plans for the protests.” In addition, protesters contend that they were told to confess that they were trained by the Israeli or Iranian governments. AI’s director for the Middle East and North Africa Malcolm Smart stated, “The Egyptian military authorities have committed publicly to creating a climate of freedom and democracy after so many years of state repression. Now they must match their words with direct and immediate action.”
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published similar concerns, specifically about the detention of journalists, human rights activists, and protesters. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release lawyers, journalists and human rights activists who have been arrested, and suggested that violence against protesters has been planned. The AI report demands immediate disclosure of the names and whereabouts of all detainees, and for either official charges to be drawn against them, or their prompt release.
Earlier this week the Supreme Council appointed a panel of judges to amend Egypt’s constitution prior to public referendum. This decision was part of the transition plan put in place by ousted president Hosni Mubarak before leaving office earlier this month. Last week the military pledged to lift the emergency laws that have been in place since Mubarak assumed power. Prior to Mubarak’s resignation, Egypt’s government had reached out to various opposition leaders in the wake of demonstrations that swept the country.
From Jurist, Feb. 17. Used with permission.