The Prevalence of Torture in Egypt

Source: Carnegie Endowment

Author(s): Khaled Hassan

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This article explores the subject of torture and human rights abuses conducted by, and within, the Egyptian regime. Khaled Hassan documents cases of such violations and highlights the tensions between the judiciary and the regime regarding the matter. Hassan states that courts often fine and try those complicit in human rights abuses from the Egyptian regime, however, he notes that the public often view these court rulings as being “largely for show”, rather than a guarantee of accountability. He adds that findings show that torture, abuse, and medical neglect still persist in the Egyptian context and that there is a growing public dissatisfaction.  

Over the past few months, in juxtaposition to Sisi’s denials of claims of torture, a number of courts in the country have prosecuted security officials for torture and human rights abuses. On October 25, the Court of Cassation—the supreme court in Egypt’s criminal and civil court system—upheld a ruling sentencing one police officer to seven years in maximum-security prison and five other policemen to three years each for torturing a citizen to death in a police station. The court also fined the Minister of Interior 1.5 million Egyptian pounds ($85,000), paid to the plaintiffs, for not preventing the violations. This is one of several recent final judgments against police officers charged with abusing detainees. Furthermore, civil courts are processing thousands of claims for compensation against the Minister of Interior for overlooking or permitting cases of torture. The increasing torture is not always politically motivated: in many cases it is a sign of the growing impunity among the security apparatus, lack of credibility of the judiciary, and breakdown of the rule of law…

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