‘Egyptian military’s role in detention and torture cases raise concerns’

Friday, February 18, 2011

CAIRO - Human rights groups have said that the Egyptian military’s continuing role in detention and torture of anti-government protestors raise new questions about its ability to midwife the country’s democracy.

According to the New York Times, Human Rights Watch has documented one case in which the military transferred a detained person to the country’s feared State Security forces, where it says he was tortured.

“The military is detaining people incommunicado, which is illegal, and so it is effectively disappearing people,” said Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch, which has documented four more cases that it describes as involving torture.

Amnesty International has documented three such cases, and the Front for the Defense of Egyptian Protesters has documented five.

Morayef said that the cases of detention and torture did not appear to be “systematic,” but “it is enough to set off alarm bells and call for an investigation into abuses by the military police”.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Ragheb, Executive Director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a human rights organization, said that the military has little experience directly governing and policing the civilian population, leaving it ill equipped for tasks like notifying families of arrests or detentions.

“The army is not prepared to operate an incarceration system or facilities,” Ragheb said.

Earlier, military officials had said they would search for those who had disappeared during the uprising, and confirmed that at least 77 people had been detained for fighting in Tahrir Square. (ANI)

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