Video Provided to Amnesty International Shows Scores of Dead Prisoners in Egypt with Signs of Horrific Torture

Press Release
March 8, 2011

Video Provided to Amnesty International Shows Scores of Dead Prisoners in Egypt with Signs of Horrific Torture

Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Video Provided to Amnesty International Shows Scores of Dead Prisoners in Egypt with Signs of Horrific Torture
Organization Says Large Number of Inmates from Al-Fayoum Prison Appear to Have Been Killed in ‘Horrific Circumstances’

Contact: Suzanne Trimel,  212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(New York) – Video images taken inside a Cairo morgue show evidence of torture on scores of bodies of inmates from the Al-Fayoum Prison, one of Egypt’s largest, Amnesty International said today.  The organization said the video images it received showed large numbers of inmates apparently killed “in horrific circumstances.”

Amnesty International called for an urgent investigation by Egyptian authorities.

“These are distressing images that show a large number of inmates who appear to have been killed in horrific circumstances,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Egyptian authorities have a responsibility of care for all inmates of their  prisons and must immediately investigate how these prisoners met their deaths and bring to justice anyone found responsible for carrying out unlawful killings, torture or other ill-treatment.”

Three videos of dead prisoners from Al-Fayoum Prison were taken in the Zenhoum morgue in Cairo on February 8 by a man who went to the morgue after the family of an inmate told him that the dead body of his brother was there.

“These are distressing images that show a large number of inmates who appear to have been killed in horrific circumstances,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Egyptian authorities have a responsibility of care for all inmates of their  prisons and must immediately investigate how these prisoners met their deaths and bring to justice anyone found responsible for carrying out unlawful killings, torture or other ill-treatment.”

Malek Tamer found the name of his brother, Tamer Tawfiq Tamer, an inmate at Al-Fayoum, one of Egypt’s large prisons, on a list of 68 male prisoners listed in the morgue’s register.

He said the bodies were numbered with pieces of paper attached to the front of each and had wounds to the head, mouth and eyes, suggesting they were tortured before their deaths.

Injuries included bullet wounds, burn marks, bruises and missing fingers and toenails, Tamer said.
He was accompanied by a friend, Mohamed Ibrahim Eldesouky, whose brother, Reda Ibrahim Eldesouky, another Al-Fayoum inmate, was among the dead in the morgue.

The pair last saw the two prisoners alive in the morning of January 30, when they were in the custody of military staff with other prisoners on the Al-Fayoum – Cairo highway, south-west of Cairo, after they had left Al-Fayoum prison on January 28.

Military staff told them they could ask about their brothers at the Prison Authority in Cairo, under the Ministry of Interior, within two days, otherwise their place of detention would be announced within 10 days.

A week later, Mohamed Ibrahim Eldesouky went to the Zenhoum morgue after being told by unidentified men in plain clothes that his brother Reda’s corpse was there.

Having discovered Tamer’s name among those of 68 men on the morgue registry, he informed Malek Tamer, who then visited the morgue with his camera.

Tamer Tawfiq Tamer’s death certificate said he had died at Al-Fayoum prison on February 3 from “suspicion of suffocation and an acute blood pressure drop”.

Malek Tamer described his brother’s body as being blue from his head to the lower chest, and said bruises and coagulated blood were clearly visible on his head, nose and eyes.

Reda Ibrahim Eldesouky’s death certificate said he had also died on February 3 but gave no reason for his death, stating only: “Forensically examined and case under study.”

Mohamed Ibrahim Eldesouky said he saw similar wounds on his brother’s body as well as burn marks.

The Egyptian authorities have not issued medical or forensic examination reports for either prisoner.
Malek Tamer and Mohamed Ibrahim Eldesouky have yet to receive any response from the office of Cairo’s Public Prosecutor after submitting the video footage and a complaint with support from the Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights.
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About 21,600 prisoners are reported to have been let out or to have escaped from Egypt’s prisons in unclear circumstances after the Ministry of Interior, responsible for running prisons, quit office on January 28 following that Friday’s ‘Day of Anger’ protests.

More than half of them were re-arrested or later handed themselves in to the authorities.

·    View video footage from morgue (Warning – contains very graphic images) or go to: www.amnesty.org

·    View additional background on this case