Police beating demonstrator in Egypt

Many human rights report suggest Egyptian police brutality is systematic and not isolated incidents

Torture in Egypt is out of control and is one of many elements destroying the fabric of Egyptian society, shredding all remnants of trust in the government, and pushing the Egyptian people to the edge of despair.

I am of Egyptian-American descent but have never lived in Egypt, though I visited in the summers when I was a child. I have many friends who spent much of their lives in Egypt and who return periodically to visit. I was talking to one of these friends recently and he was complaining about corruption in Egypt. I said, “It sounds like the country is really going downhill.” He replied, “It’s not going downhill. It’s gone, gone. There is nothing good left except the people themselves.”

But I’m not talking here about individual rants or subjective viewpoints. I’m talking about one specific issue, torture, and the overwhelming evidence that this abominable act has become the default M.O. of the Egyptian government.

A 2009 report by the London-based Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) says that torture is systematically being used on all levels of Egyptian society including women, children, elderly men and youth, regardless of their social status.

The organization submitted a complete file which includes the names of victims and their torturers to the United Nations Human Rights Council and other concerned international bodies.

While previously restricted to detention centers, torture is now widely used at police stations and illegal detention areas, said the report, adding that it is not only being used on the political opposition, but also on criminal suspects and others who are not suspected of a crime.

(I have even read of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters being detained and tortured when coming to the police station to inquire about detained family members).

The report also points out that 285 instances of torture have been recorded, resulting in 119 deaths over a nine-year period. The number of forced disappearances has also increased, with 73 people disappearing between 1992 and 2009. Of the 73 disappearances, 56 are still missing.

How much more must the Egyptian people suffer at the hands of tyrants and torturers?