Leaked video shows 'horrifying reality' of police brutality in Egypt's prisons: HRW

Leaked video shows 'horrifying reality' of police brutality in Egypt's prisons: HRW
2 min read
25 January, 2022
A video obtained by The Guardian reportedly showed inmates displaying injuries they say resulted from police brutality, including open head wounds, as a Human Rights Watch expert said police authorities are not likely to face consequences.
One video showed inmates in an overcrowded cell displaying injuries they say they obtained from Egyptian police, including open head wounds [Getty]

Detainees in Egypt have been exposed to brutal conditions tantamount to torture, Human Rights Watch has said, after the release of horrific footage showing life inside Egyptian police stations.

Videoes obtained by The Guardian - reportedly recorded by an inmate inside a Cairo police station - show detainees being hung in stress positions and suspended from metal grates by their arms, the daily reported.

Human Rights Watch Egypt researcher Amr Magdi said the videos showed "the horrifying reality of Egypt's detention system" where the police have enjoyed "near-absolute impunity".

"We know that most physical torture happens in police stations and secret NSA [National Security Agency] detention centres during the initial days or weeks after arrest, and before detainees are taken to larger prisons," Magdi told The Guardian.

Magdi added that such abuse is common in Egypt's police stations.

"Police stations are even worse than prisons... the revolution happened because of this, and 11 years later we see it happening again," Aly Hussin Mahdy, a former detainee and exiled activist, told The Guardian.

The report adds to the mounting allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings by Egyptian security forces and prison guards.

Thousands of political prisoners are being held in Egypt, many at Cairo's notorious Scorpion prison.

The footage of the alleged torture in Egyptian police stations indicates how widespread and systematic ill-treatment and abuse in Egypt's detention centres are.

"Mister president, we want to ask why the police in El-Salam First police station are doing this to us... watch how they are torturing us and our colleagues. They came and told us we're next..." one detainee said, addressing Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.

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"They're hitting us with sticks," another said in a second video, which was not published by The Guardian to protect the detainees' identities.

The videos show inmates in an overcrowded cell displaying injuries caused by Egyptian police, including open head wounds, the daily reported.

It comes almost 12 years after the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old who was detained in June 2010 and tortured to death by officers.

Said's death incited a wave of public anger against police brutality and is believed to be one of the driving forces behind the country’s 25 January revolution in 2011.