Saturday, October 29, 2011

Egyptian anger grows after latest case of death by torture

Critics say Essam Ali Atta's death shows junta is failing to dismantle Mubarak's brutal security apparatus

Jack Shenker, Friday 28 October 2011

"Egyptian officials have tortured a 24-year-old prisoner to death, provoking accusations that the increasingly unpopular junta is failing to dismantle Hosni Mubarak's brutal security apparatus.

Essam Ali Atta, a civilian serving a two-year jail term in Cairo's high-security Tora prison following his conviction in a military tribunal earlier this year for an apparently "common crime", was reportedly attacked by prison guards after trying to smuggle a mobile phone sim card into his cell.

According to statements from other prisoners who witnessed the assault, Atta had large water hoses repeatedly forced into his mouth and anus on more than one occasion, causing severe internal bleeding. An officer then transferred Atta to a central Cairo hospital, but he died within an hour.....

Atta's death is the latest in a long line of official torture incidents that have hit the headlines since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) took power almost 10 months ago. In March, a number of female protesters claimed they were subjected to forced "virginity checks" by soldiers after being detained at a reformist demonstration, and in subsequent months several deaths and assaults of Egyptians at the hands of police officials have been reported.

In September, a video emerged (warning: disturbing content) of unarmed detainees in Daqhaliya governorate being repeatedly slapped, hit and electrocuted by police officers while in custody. Then, on 9 October, Scaf was accused of direct involvement in the worst night of violence seen in Egypt since the anti-Mubarak uprising, with at least 27 people left dead after armoured personnel carriers mowed down groups of protesters.

"Scaf is not a department within the state, it is an extension of Mubarak – nothing less," claimed Dawla. "They have sacrificed Mubarak, but exactly the same regime is still in place, displaying the same language, the same attitude, the same contempt for the Egyptian people."....."

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