By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) filed a complaint Wednesday before the Prosecutor General to demand an investigation into about 900 cases of torture inside detention centers from 1992–2010.
Since 1985, EOHR documented 701 cases at Egyptian police stations; 204 of them died of torture and ill-treatment.
“The organization also received information about torturing many others but the field representatives could not reach them,” the organization said in a statement.
“The mentioned statistics can be taken only as an indicator to the prevalence and frequency of this crime at Egyptian detention centers,” the statement added.
EOHR also called for amending the criminal law articles that cover torture-related crimes as well as others that have to do with arbitrary detentions and filing complaints against policemen.
The organization further said that Egypt was not committed to the international human rights conventions it had previously ratified.
On June 30, the Alexandria Criminal Court will announce a verdict on the controversial case of 28-year-old Khaled Saeid allegedly beaten to death by two undercover policemen last June.
The two policemen were referred to the criminal court on charges of cruel treatment, torture and wrongful arrest.
The case, and the Facebook group that was set up in Saeid’s memory, was one of the driving forces that galvanized support for the Egyptians uprising on Jan. 25, which started as a call for protests against police brutality, ironically held on Police Day. The protests eventually led to the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak 18 days later.
EOHR, meanwhile, hailed Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud’s decision earlier this week to form a panel of judges to investigate torture crimes committed before and after the revolution.
“[It] is such a promising indicator and a step towards confronting torture at detention centers. The government also should take other legislative steps in order to [guarantee] people fair trials based on international human rights agreements,” EOHR Secretary General Hafez Abou Seada said.
Last month, Minister of Interior Mansour El-Essawy ordered an investigation into the case of a man who died following police questioning, which is believed to be the first alleged case of torture to death after the revolt.
Separately, activists and human rights groups recurrently demanded a transparent investigation into torture claims of protesters committed by military police forces.
Such claims were frequently denied by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which later said it would investigate the reports. Several journalists who reported the incidents were subjected to questioning by the military prosecution; the most recent of them were weekly independent El-Fagr chief editor Adel Hammouda and journalist Rasha Azab.