Egypt report from Human Rights Watch: "Impunity for Torture Fuels Days of Rage"

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A report released by Human Rights Watch documents how Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government effectively condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officers who are accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted. HRW describes torture as "an endemic problem in Egypt." According to HRW, ending police abuse—and the cycle of impunity for those crimes—is a driving element behind the massive popular demonstrations in Egypt this past week. Snip from introduction:

'Work on Him Until He Confesses': Impunity for Torture in Egypt," documents how President Hosni Mubarak's government implicitly condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officials accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted, leaving victims without a remedy.

"Egyptians deserve a clean break from the incredibly entrenched practice of torture," said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. "The Egyptian government's foul record on this issue is a huge part of what is still bringing crowds onto the streets today."

The case of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man beaten to death by two undercover police officers on an Alexandria street in June, dominated headlines and set off demonstrations across the country. The local prosecutor initially closed an investigation and ordered Said's burial, but escalating public protests prompted the Public Prosecutor to reopen the investigation and refer it to court. "We Are All Khaled Said" is the name of the Facebook group that helped initiate the mass demonstrations on January 25, 2011.

[ Warning: disturbing content. The report contains graphic descriptions of torture. ]

Overview: Egypt: Impunity for Torture Fuels Days of Rage

Report (95 pages): "Work on Him Until He Confesses": Impunity for Torture in Egypt.The report is offered in in English and Arabic, English version of PDF here.

(via @ioerror)

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  1. Can somebody explain the posters of Mubarak with a Star of David on his head? Were they handed out by Iranian agents?

  2. This is so important, thanks for linking it here, not all of us read HRW regularly.
    Torture is the ultimate breaker of the human spirit. Total control, absolute absence of liberty.

    Unfortunately, I can already see the reaction from Suleiman (Our Other Man In Egypt) and the Ministry of the Interior : “tl;dr”

  3. How I wish there was the same vehement public condemnation of the entrenched torture and rendition practices of the US government.

  4. Sigh… to hear Americans indignantly comment on this is frustrating now that America has lost all moral high-ground as it commits its own state sanctioned torture and even now holds political prisoners.

    USA? STFU and get your own house in order, THX.

    1. This may surprise you, but I oppose torture committed in the name of my own country as well. I give financial support to Amnesty International and the ACLU and actively campaigned for the presidential candidate who I thought was least likely to condone torture. So why shouldn’t I be allowed a little indignation toward Mubarak? I certainly don’t get upset when human rights supporters in Egypt get disgusted by my country’s interrogation practices.

      1. So why shouldn’t I be allowed a little indignation toward Mubarak? I certainly don’t get upset when human rights supporters in Egypt get disgusted by my country’s interrogation practices.

        Sorry, I should have been more clear, I was referring to the Gov, not the general public.

        1. Good, good.

          In addition then, I think we can safely apply your original comment to pretty much anything to have ever come out of the White House since it was built.

          1. Not so fast, trav. If we’re Americans and we’re paying taxes, then we’re paying for our govt’s rapacious policies, and some of our money has been going Egypt to pay for Mubarak’s rapacious policies. And for tear gas canisters, and tanks, and F15s.

            The U.S. government still is OUR government in that sense, or rather, to that degree.

            You’re washing your hands too quickly here; they have damned spots that don’t come out that easily. Even if you don’t pay taxes.

          2. No. It is not my government.

            I was born here. I live here. I do not make policy. I do not start wars. I am forced to pay taxes at gunpoint; if I do not pay them, I will be arrested at gunpoint and have the money taken from me anyway. My vote does not matter, despite the patriotic rhetoric to the contrary.

            Hey, while we’re on the subject. Let’s talk about all those Egyptian assholes. War criminals! Did you forget that all the protesters started multiple wars of aggression with Israel? And look at them out there, shooting themselves with bullets and water hoses. Drama queens!

      1. So… the world’s “greatest democracy” has a government that does NOT represent, and do the will of, its *people*?

  5. “President Hosni Mubarak’s government implicitly condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officials accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted,”

    Compare with:

    ““These new disclosures show torture at the hands of Iraqi security forces is rampant and goes completely unpunished,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s clear that US authorities knew of systematic abuse by Iraqi troops, but they handed thousands of detainees over anyway.”

    “http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/24/iraq-wikileaks-documents-describe-torture-detainees

    “the U.S. systematically and pursuant to official policy ignored widespread detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi police and military (up to and including murders). In fact, American conduct goes beyond mere indifference into active complicity, as The Guardian today reports that “fresh evidence that US soldiers handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad has emerged in army logs published by WikiLeaks.”

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/10/25/nyt

  6. Am I right to be frustrated that I/we am/are angry about this NOW when it’s been obviously going on for decades?!!

  7. Sigh.

    It’s sad, but also annoying that every single post about torture and violation of human rights somehow is reduced to petty discussions about USA USA USA.

    Can we please talk about Egypt? Can we agree that this is hideous and disgusting?

    HRW has been talking about this for years, and about many other things. If you want to check their website, please do and realize the nasty world we live in. They have plenty of reports about the US, but also about countries like Canada, that usually are not associated with violations of HR (granted, what happens there is small potatoes compared to this, but HRW still reports it). HRW is not formed only by Americans, and even if it would, it is not the American govt.

    It is extremely ironic that even the supposed critics of the USA end up being as sycophantic as the most extreme “patriot”, since to both everything is about the US and they just look at the same navel from opposite points of view.

    And please, if you are going to tell others that they cannot speak about something because of the country they were born, realize then that all of us should be silent and then let the thugs and tyrants do as they please. Fuck it. I am not going to be silenced because of a geographical accident.

  8. Well, now. Failing to investigate torture leads to a popular uprising.

    Those poor, benighted Middle Easterners. Don’t they want to join us in the 21st Century?

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