Egypt military 'must' halt torture
CAIRO - Rights watchdog Amnesty International on Thursday called on the Egyptian military to halt the use of torture against detainees, saying it had fresh evidence of abuse.
The armed forces took control of the government after the downfall of president Hosni Mubarak last week, and are generally regarded by Egyptians as less brutal than his hated interior ministry police.
But Amnesty said it had interviewed former detainees who described being tortured by the military, including by whipping and electric shocks, during the mass protests that forced Mubarak to step down.
"The military authorities must intervene to end torture and other abuse of detainees, which we now know to have been taking place in military custody," said Malcom Smart, Amnesty International's regional director.
Recently released detainees told Amnesty that members of the armed forces used torture including by whipping, beating and with electric shocks.
"The authorities must immediately issue clear instructions to all security forces and members of the army that torture or other ill-treament of detainees will not be tolerated," said Smart.
A 29-year-old former detainee from the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya said he was tortured by soldiers in an annexe to the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square, the focal point of the anti-government demonstrations.
He said he was then moved to another location where he was "beaten, subjected to electric shocks and threatened with rape."
When the demonstrations erupted on January 25, the military was praised for showing restraint, but reports by international and Egyptian rights groups have begun to emerge, accusing the army of detaining and torturing protesters.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said on Tuesday that thousands of people went missing during the protests.
Gamal Eid, a lawyer who heads the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said: "There are hundreds of detained people, but information on their numbers is still not complete ... The army was holding detainees."