Egypt's military accused of detaining and torturing anti-government protesters

Cairo, Feb 10(ANI): The Egyptian military has been accused by human rights campaigners of targeting hundreds of anti-government protesters since the mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak began a fortnight ago.

Human Rights Watch said that it has documented 119 arrests of civilians by the military, but believes there are many more.

The international non-governmental organization has also documented detentions including an unnamed democracy activist who described being stopped by a soldier who insisted on searching his bag, where he found a pro-democracy flyer.

Heba Morayef, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Cairo, said: "A lot of families are calling us and saying: 'I can't find my son, he's disappeared.' I think what's happening is that they're being arrested by the military."

One of those detained by the army, 23-year-old Ashraf, said that he was detained last Friday on the edge of Tahrir Square.

"I was on a sidestreet and a soldier stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told him and he accused me of working for foreign enemies and other soldiers rushed over and they all started hitting me with their guns," the Guardian quoted Ashraf, as saying.

Ashraf claimed that he was hauled off to a makeshift army post where his hands were bound behind his back, and was beaten some more before being moved to an area under military control.

"They put me in a room. An officer came and asked me who was paying me to be against the government. When I said I wanted a better government he hit me across the head and I fell to the floor. Then soldiers started kicking me. One of them kept kicking me between my legs," Ashraf said.

"They got a bayonet and threatened to rape me with it. Then they waved it between my legs. They said I could die there or I could disappear into prison and no one would ever know. The torture was painful but the idea of disappearing in a military prison was really frightening," he added.

Ashraf said that the beatings continued on and off for several hours until he was put in a room with about a dozen other men, all of whom had been severely tortured.

He was let go after about 18 hours with a warning not to return to Tahrir Square. (ANI)

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