Egypt: On Int’l day of victims of torture, man and his son terrorized, assaulted and arrested

Egyptian police apprehended, terrorized, assaulted and mistreated a citizen and his son before wife, who was also harrassed by police personnel, reported a rights group.

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Egyptian authorities arrested Mahmoud Tawfiq and his son Omar Tawfiq from their apartment at Alexandria, reported Najda Organization for Human Rights (NOHR).

According to the rights group, police personnel that apprehended them also terrorized, assaulted and mistreated Mahmoud’s wife, as well as brutally beaten Mahmoud and his high schooler son, Omar.

“It is noteworthy that Omar will be unable to complete his ongoing high school final exams due to his detention,” noted NOHR.

It also reported that police personnel tossed Mahmoud’s belongings and furniture from the ninth floor into the street.

“Najda Organization for Human Rights holds the Ministry of Interior fully responsible for the lives and safety of Mahmoud Tawfiq and his son Omar,” stated the rights group.

June 26 marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In this regard, human rights organizations call on states across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to end the practice of torture and hold perpetrators accountable.

In coincidence with the entry into force of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), comes the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26).

In a joint statement, nine human rights groups called on MENA states “to end torture and hold perpetrators accountable”.

The joint statement signatories are ALQST for Human Rights, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center (EDAC), European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR), Human Rights Foundation (HRF), International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), MENA Rights Group, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and The Freedom Initiative (FI).

They urged states across the MENA region to fulfill their obligations under this convention by taking serious steps to end the practice of torture and hold perpetrators accountable.

Torture is defined in Article 1 of the UNCAT as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.”

The prohibition of torture is absolute in international law, meaning no exception can justify such practices.

It has also been recognised as part of customary international law, thereby binding on all States regardless of whether they are party to the UNCAT.

In Egypt, the UN found that in the context of impunity, torture has “flourished and become systematic.”

More than 1,000 Egyptians have died in Egyptian detention facilities and prisons since 2013, many of them due to torture and other ill-treatment.

In the same context, the Haqohum (Their Right) human rights organization reported death of the detainee, lawyer Ali Abbas Barakat, 60, inside the Badr Prison Complex Hospital, due to a sharp deterioration in his health condition.

The victim, from the Menouf, Menoufia Governorate, suffered from a severe liver disease. Less than a week ago, he fell into a hepatic coma inside his prison cell, due to the sharp deterioration in his health condition as a result of the lack of necessary medical care and the poor conditions of detention.

Four days ago, “Their Right” organization published the appeal of his family to quickly rescue him and transfer him to a hospital outside the prison to allow him to receive necessary health care.

The victim has been detained since December 2016, and he obtained an acquittal in May 2022. Instead of being released in light of his health condition, he was been recycled in a new case.