Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Torture in Egypt continues

Here are just two examples.

The Washington Post
Samira Ibrahim Mohamed is a 25-year-old woman from Upper Egypt. She came from her home more than eight hours away in January to join in the protests in Tahrir Square. Like many others, she has stayed in Cairo, occasionally returning to camp out in the square as a reminder of the democratic promises that the military and remnants of the old regime have made. She was in the square on the afternoon of March 9 when members of the army and men in plainclothes attacked the demonstrators, arbitrarily arresting people on sight. Samira was one of the protesters who was dragged away from Tahrir that afternoon.

Soldiers beat and kicked her. They tore her headscarf from her. And then, in what was as bizarre as it was shocking, they took her and other peaceful demonstrators to the famed Egyptian museum on the north side of the square — to be tortured.

Samira was handcuffed to a wall in the museum complex. For nearly seven hours — almost every five minutes, she said — Samira was electrocuted with a stun gun. Her torturers would sometimes splash water on her and others to make the shocks more painful. The electrical jolts were applied to her legs, shoulders and stomach. She pleaded with the soldier to stop. Repeating what the demonstrators had chanted in Tahrir Square, she said, “I begged them. I said, ‘You are my brothers. The army and the people are one.’” Her tormentor replied, “No, the military is above the nation. And you deserve this.”

At around 11 p.m., Samira and others were moved to one of the main military prisons. She would remain there for three more days. Over those days, the abuse, insults and intimidation continued. They spit on her. All of her belongings were stolen. She was given kerosene-soaked bread for food. But the most humiliating moment was when they first brought her into the prison. She and 10 other women arrested in the square were stripped and forcibly examined to determine whether they were virgins. She had been told that any woman found not to be a virgin would have prostitution added to her charges.

Without warning, the army stormed the square, ripping down tents and arresting more than 100 people, including Essam.

He says men in army uniforms dragged him to the Egyptian National Museum, which had become a security headquarters.

He says the men took him to a courtyard, stripped him to his shorts, and beat him.

An interpreter rendering Essam's Arabic into English says, "there was a soldier who jumped up in the air and (came) down on his head."

Essam, also through the interpreter, says the men beat him with a stick and a metal rod, and applied electricity "all over his body."

By the time the army released him, he could barely walk.

He says he still believes that there are honest people who will investigate what happened.

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