Egypt detainees speak of woes

354026_Prison-cellDetainees in Egyptian prisons have described how arbitrary arrests, torture and forced confessions take place in Egypt in video clips recently released.

The pieces of footage, recorded on mobile phones, show the detainees giving an account of prison conditions from within their cells.

Prisoners in the videos say they had been beaten, tortured and threatened with rape.

“They tortured me in ways I can’t describe. They started making me memorize confessions, they told me, ‘You’re going to stand before someone and you have to say what we tell you word for word,’” said a young male detainee, who claimed to be a university student.

Egypt’s Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim has denied the claims made by the detainees in the footage.

“It’s impossible that any form of torture is taking place in Egyptian prisons,” he said.

Ibrahim added that no one is arrested arbitrarily and that the inmates either possessed weapons or took part in non-peaceful protests.

According to reports, over 21,000 people have been arrested in Egypt since the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohammad Morsi, in July 2013.

Last year, the Muslim Brotherhood movement was listed by Egyptian authorities as a terrorist group.

The United Nations Human Rights Council also has recently expressed concern over the Egyptian security forces’ heavy-handed crackdown and the killing of peaceful anti-government protesters.

According to rights groups, 1,400 people have been killed in the political violence since the ouster of Morsi, “most of them due to excessive force used by security forces.”

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