Amnesty International calls on Egypt to prosecute officers involved in torturing detainees

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Amnesty International has called on the Egyptian authorities to stop their reprisals against at least nine detainees, and three family members and friends, for publishing leaked videos of police abuse in a Cairo police station. The organization called for immediate and effective investigations of all police officers responsible for the torture of detainees depicted in the videos.

The organization issued a statement saying that instead of investigating allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution conducted investigations against nine detainees, including eight who appeared in leaked videos revealed by The Guardian on January 24. “It is outrageous and inconsequential that the Egyptian authorities’ response to this video has been to punish the victims, and some of their friends,” said Philip Luther, director of research and advocacy for the organization’s Middle East and North Africa program. “Police officers suspected of involvement in torture should be suspended pending the outcome of criminal investigations, and the authorities should provide protection for detainees who allege that they have been tortured”. Luther stressed that the Egyptian government’s allegations of improving the human rights situation seem hollow in the face of evidence of the prosecution’s complicity with the police in bringing baseless accusations against victims who dare to expose police torture.

The organization’s statement stated that the Ministry of Interior had rejected the videos as fabricated. The Public Prosecution also alleged that the men depicted in the videos had been instigated by unknown persons from inside and outside Egypt to cut themselves with a coin, and published the video with the aim of spreading lies and causing instability.

Amnesty International has received a third video showing a number of detainees who appeared in one of the original videos pleading with the Egyptian President to save them from torture and revenge by the police.