Annual Report: Egypt 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Egypt 2010

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  • Hani Nazeer, a Coptic Christian and blogger from Qina, was held throughout 2009 under a succession of administrative detention orders issued by the Interior Minister. He was arrested in October 2008 when he surrendered to the police in Nagaa Hammadi, who had detained his brothers and threatened to detain his sisters to force him to surrender. This was after residents of Qina denounced him for commenting in his blog on a book they deemed insulting to Muslims. He was held at Borg al-Arab Prison near Alexandria, despite four court orders for his release. He was reported to have been pressured by security officers in prison to convert to Islam.

Unfair trials

Grossly unfair trials of civilians continued before military courts, in breach of international fair trial standards. At least three civilians were convicted in these trials, and sentenced to prison terms of up to two years.

  • In February, Ahmed Doma, a leading member of the Popular Movement to Free Egypt, a youth organization, and Ahmed Kamal Abdel Aal were sentenced to one year prison terms and fined, the former for crossing Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip during the Israeli military offensive and the latter for planning to cross. Magdy Hussein, General Secretary of the Labour party, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined on similar grounds. In August, the Supreme Court of Military Appeals upheld his sentence.
  • The Supreme Court of Military Appeals rejected the appeals filed by 18 members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization after they were sentenced to up to seven years' imprisonment in April 2008 following an unfair trial before the Supreme Military Court of Haikstip, northern Cairo. In July, an administrative court ordered that 13 of them who had served three quarters of their sentences should be released, but they all remained in prison at the end of the year.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were systematic in police stations, prisons and SSI detention centres and, for the most part, committed with impunity. In some cases, police were reported to have threatened victims against lodging complaints. In rare cases, however, alleged torturers were prosecuted.

  • In November, an Alexandria court sentenced a police officer to five years in prison for torturing Rajai Sultan in July 2008 by beating him until he suffered a brain haemorrhage, for which he required surgery.
  • Mona Said Thabet and her husband, Yasser Naguib Mahran, were harassed and intimidated by police after she submitted a complaint to the Interior Ministry that her husband had been tortured by police at Shobra al- Khayma before his release in September 2008 because he had refused to become an informer. She reported that police slapped and beat her, stubbed out a cigarette on her face, forcibly shaved her head and threatened to rape her unless she withdraw the complaint. Instead, she filed a further complaint with the Public Prosecutor in Shobra al-Khayma, who ordered an investigation. This led local police to make new threats against her, her husband and their children. She complained to the Public Prosecutor in February, but no action was known to have been taken. In May, families from Shobra al-Khayma demonstrated in Cairo against abuses allegedly committed by the head of the SSI in Shobra al-Khayma police station and to seek the intervention of the Interior Ministry.

Deaths in custody

At least four people died in custody, apparently as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, according to reports.