Egyptian human rights activists say they’ve documented hundreds of cases of civilians tortured by police and army forces since the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, but that none have yet gone to trial.
Under former President Mubarak, the security services were notorious for abuses, but since he left office in February dozens of cases have been filed to the general prosecutor’s office accusing police and military authorities of torture and other crimes against anti-government protesters.
For activists, that’s a sign that the interim military government hasn’t reined in the security forces, which were all-powerful during the Mubarak era. The only difference in post-revolution Egypt, they say, is that victims empowered by the uprising are speaking publicly of their brutal experiences.
Hossam Bahgat, the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, offered a grim list of the torture methods that authorities are accused of using: “kicking and punching; beating using batons, rifle butts, whips; electrocuting (shocking) victims; hanging in painful positions; sleep and food deprivation; and sexual assault.”
Bahgat, who’s run the advocacy group since 2002, said that until the revolution, torture victims “were unable to speak. At times there was an informant watching the victim’s house. If they see activists making contact they either harassed them or threatened the victim not to speak.”