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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

The EOHR condemns the detention and torture of 12 citizens in the Kasr Al-Nil police station

Sunday, 13 September 1998

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) is extremely concerned
about the random arrest of 12 citizens on Sunday and Monday, 6-7 September
1998 in the Gezira and Kasr Al-Nil police stations, where they were
allegedly tortured and ill-treated to force them to give information about
a theft of which the relative of one of them was accused.

According to a complaint made by Mrs. Mervat Mohammed Hassan to the EOHR,
on 6 September 1998 members of the Basateen police station arrested her
husband, Sayid Abdalla Soliman, in front of their home, in the Dar
Al-Salaam district, and took him together with his mother, sister and
brother to the Kasr Al-Nil police station. There, he was questioned about
the theft of some belongings from a woman for whom his mother worked as a
cleaner. Asked about where he was at the time of the crime, he responded
that at one of his relatives', Akram Mohammed Hassan, in Al-Salaam City.
Subsequently, the police arrested the latter along with his brothers Hani
and Emad Mohammed Hassan, and took them to the Kasr Al-Nil police station.
There, they were held with iron fetters, hanged to a door and beaten all
over the body. The police also arrested the brother-in-law of the accused,
Mohammed Ahmed Ali.

Mervat Mohammed Hassan added that when she visited her husband in the Kasr
Al-Nil police station on 7 September, she was detained, threatened with
rape, and beaten to force her to confess that her husband had committed the
theft. A further three relatives of the accused were also arrested, held in
the same police station, and beaten to coerce them to give information. The
complainant added that nine of those detained had been released on
condition that they reported to the station when required, whereas another
three were taken to an unidentified location.

Upon this complaint, the EOHR sent two lawyers to the Kasr Al-Nil police
station, but the chief of the station denied that any of the people
mentioned were being held there. Subsequently, the lawyers went to the Kasr
Al-Nil Prosecution Office, where they filed a report and requested a visit
by the chief prosecutor to the place of detention in compliance with
article 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that: "Anyone
who becomes aware that a person is illegally detained or detained in a
place other than those assigned for confinement must inform a member of the
public prosecution, who, upon receiving the information, should go
immediately to the place of the confinement, conduct an investigation,
order the release of the illegally detained person and make a report on the
event." However, contrary to this article, the chief prosecutor only called
the chief of the police station. Around ninety minutes later, the EOHR
lawyers were informed that none of the people in question were held in the
Kasr Al-Nil station. Subsequently, the lawyers filed a report on these
events to the General Prosecutor under number 1487, and another to the
attorney general of the central Cairo prosecution offices.

The EOHR believes that the use of random arrest and torture to extract
confessions is a flagrant violation of articles 41, 42 and 66 of the
Constitution, which prohibit the arrest, search or detention of a person
without an order by the competent judge or the Public Prosecution
Department. They also prohibit detention in any place other than those
specified by the law. Moreover, these arrests violate the principle of the
personality of punishment. The EOHR also believes that the practice of
torturing citizens in police stations to extract confessions is a flagrant
violation of the Constitution and international human rights standards to
which Egypt is committed.

The EOHR urges the competent authorities to promptly release those still
detained, and to conduct an investigation into the detention and torture of
the above mentioned citizens in compliance with the law, the Constitution
and international human rights conventions ratified by Egypt.

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This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.