Amnesty calls for release of 14-year-old boy allegedly 'raped' with stick

Saturday 12-12-2015 09:54 PM
Amnesty calls for release of 14-year-old boy allegedly 'raped' with stick

Archive photo of central security forces headed to disperse protest in Cairo - Reuters


CAIRO, Dec. 12 (Aswat Masriya) - Amnesty International called Friday for the release of Mazen Mohamed Abdallah, who the organisation says was "reportedly tortured in custody", based on an account provided by his family. 

The 14-year-old's family told the international watchdog, according to a statement on Friday, that Abdallah was given "electric shocks on his genitals and had a wooden stick repeatedly thrust into his anus as police forced him to confess to protesting without authorization and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group."

Said Boumedouha, the Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme said "that such abuse is meted out against children in detention is utterly deplorable."

Children in the Egyptian legal definition are below the age of 18.

Boumedouha added that Abdallah's incident "gives a sickening insight into the widespread and routine use of torture and ill-treatment by Egyptian security forces in police stations." 

According to Amnesty, Abdallah was arrested from his home in September and spent a week in detention without being allowed to contact family or lawyers. 

The torture this child reportedly suffered made him ready "to 'confess' to 'anything just to stop the torture,'" Amnesty said.  

Authorities denied to his family that he was in custody and his whereabouts only came to be known to them by chance. Afterwards, a lawyer was able to attend only the last few minutes of the child's questioning and advised Abdallah to reveal the details of his torture, requesting that the child be examined for signs of torture, which were apparent on his body. 

"However, the prosecutor charged Mazen with belonging to a banned group, protesting without authorisation and printing flyers inciting protests," Amnesty said. 

He remains detained at the hands of Homeland Security, a branch of the police that was originally known as State Security but whose name was changed after the 2011 uprising, amid popular demands to restructure the interior ministry and implement reforms emphasising respect for human rights.  

The watchdog says those responsible for Abdallah's torture must be brought to justice. 

The Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment. 

The Amnesty statement comes as a slew of cases of alleged police torture caught the public's attention recently. 

On Thursday, Egyptian civil society organisations said 37 people died as a result of torture while in custody over the past 11 months. 

Organisations including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence told a press conference they were able to document 625 torture cases in Egyptian prisons, out of which 51 were cases of collective torture in the period between January and November 2015.

Police brutality was one of the triggers of the Jan. 25, 2011 uprising, sparked by protests on Egypt's national police day, aimed to draw attention to the police's use of excessive, at times fatal, force. Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of this uprising. 

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