Egyptian anger grows after latest case of death by torture

The Guardian reports: Egyptian officials have tortured a 24-year-old prisoner to death, provoking accusations that the increasingly unpopular junta is failing to dismantle Hosni Mubarak’s brutal security apparatus.

Essam Ali Atta, a civilian serving a two-year jail term in Cairo’s high-security Tora prison following his conviction in a military tribunal earlier this year for an apparently “common crime”, was reportedly attacked by prison guards after trying to smuggle a mobile phone sim card into his cell.

According to statements from other prisoners who witnessed the assault, Atta had large water hoses repeatedly forced into his mouth and anus on more than one occasion, causing severe internal bleeding. An officer then transferred Atta to a central Cairo hospital, but he died within an hour.

The death occurred less than 24 hours after two police officers in Alexandria were each sentenced to seven years in jail for their part in the murder of Khaled Said, a young businessman beaten to death by security forces in broad daylight last year. That incident led to the creation of the Facebook group “We are all Khaled Said” and helped mobilise a wave of protests which eventually toppled Mubarak in February.

On Friday, a new Facebook page entitled We are all Essam Atta appeared online, and quickly attracted thousands of supporters. Activists and human rights campaigners flocked to social media sites to express their fury at Egypt’s ruling generals, whom many now view as indistinguishable from the Mubarak regime they replaced.

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