Military council fails to defuse mounting tales of torture in Egypt

Ahram Online reports:

Soldiers arrive one mid-afternoon to break off a peaceful gathering in Tahrir Square. Days later, several young people recount scary ordeals and horror stories they claim they endured.

Amr, for example, a young Egyptian man who works in the TV and Radio Corporation, entered the Metro Station in Tahrir Square to take the train home around 2pm.

“On the stairs going into the station, three men in civilian clothes arrested me. They took my ID card and broke it into two pieces. They kicked and punched me around and then led me to a personnel carrier nearby,” Amr told El Nadeem Centre for the psychological rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture.

“In the crowded vehicle, soldiers cursed me and hit me all over my body repeatedly until I almost fainted. I found a few young men in the car who were also apparently beaten and we all had trouble breathing because it was inhumanely hot and stuffy in there. They drove us around for two hours until we arrived at the prison,” Amr continued, recounting his story as it appears on the Centre’s website.

“Soldiers welcomed us at the prison gate by hitting us with electric shock batons in sensitive parts of our bodies. They made us crawl on our stomachs into the jail yard while stepping down on us with their boots and lashing at us with their whips,” Amr recalled to El Nadeem.

Ahmed, a journalist, said that soldiers arrested him that same day as he headed towards a mosque near the square to perform his afternoon prayers.

“I told them that I am a journalist. They said they did not give a damn. They took us to a prison. They stripped us and made us crawl naked on the jail’s asphalt. My back is swollen and I might need surgery on my leg,” goes Ahmed’s account to El Nadeem Centre.

Zeinab, a young woman, said that soldiers abused her as she tried to help an elderly woman whom soldiers knocked down after she shouted at soldiers in defence of those being beaten.

“Some soldiers grabbed me, lifted my blouse and started slapping me straight on the flesh. They said that I was more or less a whore,” Zeinab told El Nadeem.

These stories are not of the horror and torture that Egyptians endured in the long years under the draconian rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. The peaceful gathering in question did not take place against one of the many facets of Mubarak’s repressive rule.

Moreover, the soldiers accused of brutality and torture were not members of the notorious State Security Intelligence core, which haunted and abused endless numbers of protesters and other ordinary citizens for decades to keep Mubarak safely in power.

The demonstration in question took place on 1 August 2011; seven months after Egyptians ousted Mubarak in a spectacular popular revolution.

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