Saturday, June 12, 2010

Egypt: Torture as the Norm

Over the past few months I have been working on a video project about torture, so when I heard about the public beating and murder of 28-year old Khaled Sayed Thursday night it came as no surprise. According to blogger Mfatta7, Khaled had either filmed or obtained a video that reveals a number of police officers involved in a drug deal. This is the video provided by his sister:

Once again to most Egyptians neither the police involvement in drug dealing, nor security forces' use of torture for a personal vendetta comes as a surprise. And yet, this time there is an outrage that started on the streets of Alexandria and has spread around the country because the act was done so blatantly... and the news and images have spread online. On Sunday June 6 security agents sought to carry out a random search of the internet cafe Khaled was in. Following Egypt's emergency law amendments such random searches are not legal and he refused. Consequently he was beaten to death, his body was taken to a nearby police station and according to the man's uncle, Khaled's body was later thrown in front of his home

Meanwhile there is an Egyptian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council trying to whitewash the Egyptian governments image on torture and other rights violations. Reporting from Geneva, Hosam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that, the government had pledged to "revisit the articles identifying torture in the penal code." The representatives furthermore promised to set up an "institutional mechanism" to follow up on the commitments made to the council. A similar mechanism the government set up to assess minimum wage needs in 2003 failed to ever meet, much less implement any changes. Aida Seif-Aldawla from the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence told AP, "we live in a country where there is absolutely no law. We want the sacking and trial of the head of the police."

So while government officials bullshit their way through UN apparatuses...

join us at a protest at the Ministry of Interior at 5pm Sunday