'Critics of Egyptian authorities faced false detention, torture, threatened rape'

Cairo, Feb 5(ANI): Egypt has used a continuous state of emergency for the past 30 years to justify the suppression of political dissent in the name of security, an Amnesty International official has said.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said: "Critics of the Egyptian authorities have faced arrest, detention, torture, prosecution on trumped-up criminal charges and unfair trials."

A report by Human Rights Watch released this week describes the torture of anti-war protestors, street children, homosexuals, and domestic political dissidents, as well as terror suspects interrogated by Egyptian intelligence at the behest of foreign governments.

According to the report, Abu Omar, a cleric kidnapped by the CIA in Italy and shipped to Egypt, said: "I was hung up like a slaughtered sheep and given electrical shocks. I was brutally tortured and I could hear the screams of others who were tortured too."

Abdel Haleem Halim, a veteran political dissident who had approached President Hosni Mubarak at a 2002 conference to confront him about the rampant unemployment in the country, said that he was whisked away by the country's intelligence agents and tortured.

"They would bring me a paper and want me to write and sign a confession. But I would refuse to write. So they would torture me because I was defiant," ABC News quoted Halim, as saying.

He also claimed that the SSI agents used beatings and electroshock, and that his 2002 encounter was only the latest in a long line of detentions.

Hossam el-Hamalawy, who was a student at the American University in Cairo in 2000 when SSI arrested him for organizing a pro-Palestinian rally, said that he was threatened with electrocution and rape.

"They said, 'You think yourself a man? We're going to bring a gay soldier to rape you," Hossam said.

Just before his release, he says, an interrogator extended the threat of rape to include his girlfriend, mother and sister. (ANI)

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