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HRW: Egypt security forces systematically torture political detainees

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] on Tuesday that security forces under the administration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have systematically used torture methods against political detainees that likely amount to crimes against humanity. According to the report, officers have routinely used [HRW report] stressful positions, physical abuse, and even rape to punish detainees and force confessions. Such practices have reportedly been carried out in police stations and security offices across the country. Allegedly, the Interior Ministry and prosecutors have also contributed to this system of abuse by turning a blind eye to torture and pressuring detainees into supporting their forced confession. Between July 2013 and December 2016, amidst hundred of allegations, prosecutors reportedly only pursued 40 torture cases and only won 6 of them. According to the HRW, "President al-Sisi has effectively given police and National Security officers a green light to use torture whenever they please." The HRW has called for the establishment of an independent special prosecutor to properly investigate detention sites and security forces. Should the Sisi administration fail to address the ongoing matter, HRW further requests that UN members investigate and prosecute the Egyptian officials responsible for systematic torture.

Sisi's administration has recently been accused of numerous human rights violations. Last month, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] issued a statement [JURIST report] detailing their concern over websites, including many news sites, that have been shutdown or blocked by the Egyptian government. In June, the UN stated that Egypt's new NGO law [JURIST report] will further restrict human rights advocacy. In May, the UN criticized [JURIST report] the increased security measures the president has instituted since the bombings of Christian churches earlier this year. While condemning the attacks, al-Hussien said that al-Sisi's declaration of a three-month state of emergency was only going to increase radicalization. In April, HRW criticized [JURIST report] US President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, saying the move effectively endorses the country's poor recent human rights record.

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