Rights groups condemn harsh sentences against torture victims in Al-Salam Police Station

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Human rights groups have condemned what they described as the harsh sentences issued by an Egyptian court against victims in a case known as the Al-Salam Police Station case. The court sentenced nine people to life imprisonment and 13 others to 15 years in prison.

The rights groups, including the El-Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, have called for a retrial. Violations against the defendants varied between enforced disappearance, torture, and threats, they added. They were also not given access to their lawyers. They also called on the Egyptian authorities to stop expanding the use of terrorism laws and to prosecute perpetrators of torture crimes.

In January, the Guardian published two videos showing the torture of detainees inside a Cairo police station. “A video obtained by the Guardian appearing to show Egyptian police torturing detainees in a Cairo police station confirms the extent to which officers appear able to inflict violence on civilians with near total impunity, according to human rights groups,” it said. “The video, covertly recorded by a detainee through a cell door, appears to show two inmates hung in stress positions. The detainees are naked from the waist up and suspended from a metal grate by their arms, fastened behind their backs.” Subsequently, the Public Prosecution Office published a statement in which it said that its investigations concluded that the allegations of torture were false. The Egyptian Front for Human Rights issued a June report that numerous violations had occurred during the interrogation and the trial episode.