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Egypt sentences reporter to jail for film of 'police torture'

[JURIST] An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced a television reporter with Al Jazeera [media website] to six months in prison for producing a film that depicts police torture. Howayda Taha [AELME profile] was tried in absentia for her role in creating a film that Egyptian authorities say includes phony shots of Egyptian police torturing suspects. Al Jazeera responded that the footage in question was a reenactment of actual scenes of torture by actors. Taha was first detained by Egyptian authorities [Reporters Without Borders report] in January as she was leaving the country at the completion of filming. She was charged with "harming Egypt's national interest" after prosecutors discovered the videotapes in her baggage, but was released on bail.

Human rights groups maintain that torture is commonplace in Egyptian police stations, but Egyptian authorities have denied the allegations. Last month, Amnesty International released a report [text; JURIST report] criticizing Egypt for systematic human rights abuses of detainees in its police stations, military camps, and centers run by State Security Investigations (SSI). RTT has more.

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