- On February 9, London Guardian writer Chris McGreal headlined,
"Egypt's army 'involved in detentions and torture,' " saying:
- Military forces "secretly detained hundreds and
possibly thousands of suspected government opponents since mass (anti-Mubarak)
protests began, (and) at least some of these detainees have been tortured,
according to testimony gathered by the Guardian."
- Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other human rights
organizations cited years of army involvement in disappearances and torture.
Former detainees confirmed "extensive beatings and other abuses at
the hands of the military in what appears to be an organized campaign of
intimidation." Electric shocks, Taser guns, threatened rapes, beatings,
disappearances, and killings left families grieving for loved ones.
- Under Mubarak, Egypt's military wasn't neutral. It's
no different now, cracking down hard to keep power and deny change, policies
Washington endorses, funds and practices at home and abroad.
- On February 17, even New York Times writer Liam Stack
headlined, "Among Egypt's Missing, Tales of Torture and Prison,"
- Trademark Mubarak practices continue under military rule,
"human rights groups say(ing) the military's continuing role in such
abuses raises new questions about its ability to midwife Egyptian democracy."
- "We joined the protests to liberate the country
and end the problems of the regime," said a man identified as Rabie.
"After 18 days, the regime is gone but the same injustices remain."
Indeed so without letup.
- In fact, on February 11, everything in Egypt changed
but stayed the same. Mubarak was out, replaced by military despots, reigning
the same terror on Egyptians he did for nearly three decades. A new Amnesty
International (AI) report explains, titled "Egypt Rises: Killings,
Detentions and Torture in the '25 January Revolution.' "
- Covering the period January 30 - March 3, it documents
excessive force, killing hundreds and injuring thousands of Egyptians,
as well as mass arrests, detentions and torture, policies still ongoing
to prevent democracy from emerging.
- On May 18, an AI press release headlined, "Egypt:
Victims of Protest Violence Deserve Justice," calling trying former
Interior Minister Habib El Adly "an essential first step, (but authorities)
must go much further than this."
- "Families of those who were killed, as well as all
those who were seriously injured or subject to arbitrary detention or torture....should
expect that the authorities will prioritize their needs."
- AI's report provides "damning evidence of excessive
force" against protesters posing no threat. In addition, it covers
brutal torture in detention, "including beatings with sticks or whips,
electric shocks," painful stress positions for long periods, verbal
abuse, threatened rape, and other forms of ill-treatment.
- Earlier in May, AI released another report titled, "State
of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: January to Mid-April
2011," covering all regional countries, including Egypt, saying ongoing
human rights abuses continue.
- Strikes, sit-ins, and protests persist for decent jobs,
better wages, improved working conditions, human and civil rights, ending
corruption, and real democratic change so far denied. More killings, arrests,
detentions, and torture followed, showing that "Egypt's '25 January
Revolution' is far from over." In fact, it's just begun.
- AI's report documents dozens of individuals Egypt's security
forces killed or injured in Cairo, Alexandria, Beni Suef governorate, Suez,
Port Said, and El-Mahalla El-Kubra, Egypt's industrial heartland.
- They attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas, water
cannons, shotguns, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and at times running
them over with armored vehicles. They also used disproportionate brutality,
including beatings with batons or sticks as well as lethal force, followed
by mass arrests, disappearances, detentions, torture, and at least 189
confirmed deaths in custody and hundreds injured.
- Others targeted included human rights and online activists,
independent journalists, people bringing supplies to protesters, doctors
treating those injured, and anyone suspected of anti-regime activities.
In detention, brutal treatment followed. One man identified as Fouad said:
- "As we entered our block, we had to lie face down
in the court yard and were beaten by soldiers. They beat us with cables
and canes and used electric prods. The most severe beating in Sign al-Harbi
(Military Prison) was on the day of arrival."
- Detained for 19 days in numerous locations, Mohamed Hassan
Abdel Samiee said he was tortured in all of them. Mohamed Essam Ibrahim
Khatib said he was blindfolded, handcuffed, stepped on, beaten with a rifle
butt, and administered electric shocks including to his face and neck,
- "When we got off the vehicle, we were ordered to
take off our clothes, except the underpants, and we had to lie face down
in the sand. There were three soldiers in camouflage uniforms belonging
to the Saraya al-Sa'iqa (The Lightening Brigade), each of them with a different
instrument to beat us. One had a whip, another a wooden stick and another
an electric prod. The commander would blow into his whisle and the soldiers
would start beating us for a few minutes until he blew his whistle again.
They beat all of us without exception," an ordeal continuing throughout
- Other detainees said they were blindfolded, handcuffed
suspended upside-down by a rope, administered electric shocks, submerged
head first in water, and ordered to confess they were trained by Israel
or Iran. Some lost consciousness during the ordeal.
- Another was warned if he didn't talk he "would face
the same situation as (a man) I heard being raped and pleading with his
rapist to stop. So I told the interrogator, 'I prefer that you shoot me.'
- Moreover, contact with lawyers, doctors, and family members
was denied, unaware if loved ones were alive or dead. Thousands endured
the same treatment. They still do with no letup under brutal military junta
- A Final Comment
- On April 29, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) news release
headlined, "Egypt: Military Trials Usurp Justice System," saying:
- Egypt's military "should immediately end trials
of civilians before military courts and release all those arbitrarily detained
or convicted after unfair hearings...."
- Since February, more than 5,000 civilians were tried
in military tribunals. Nearly all participated in peaceful protests during
and after Mubarak's dictatorship. "Trials of civilians before the
military courts constitute wholesale violations of basic fair trial rights...."
- Egypt's military courts administer wholesale justice
for alleged "crimes," handling multiple cases simultaneously
in proceedings lasting 20 to 40 minutes. Those convicted got sentences
ranging from six months to 25 years or life imprisonment for protesting
peacefully, breaking curfews, and various bogus charges, including possessing
illegal weapons, destroying public property, theft, assault, or threatening
violence. Those charged were judged guilty by accusation and denied lawyers
of their choice to represent them.
- Obama's embracing military commissions "justice"
replicates Egypt's junta. His March 7 Executive Order reversed an earlier
EO halting the practice for new cases. In response, the Center for Constitutional
Rights condemned the ruling, saying:
- His "reopening of flawed military commissions for
business does nothing other than codify the status quo. (It's) a tacit
acknowledgment that (his) administration intends to leave Guantanamo as
a scheme for unlawful detention without charge and trial for future presidents
to clean up."
- Washington's Guantanamo detentions and "military
tribunal system are no longer an inheritance from the Bush administration
- they will be President Obama's legacy." In fact, they show American
justice replicates Egypt, both nations revealed as police states.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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