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Rights group: UN must 'put an end' to torture of prisoners in Egypt

Egyptian authorities are operating extrajudicial secret prisons which have been transformed into torture centres worse than Abu-Ghraib in Iraq, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) said in a statement.

AOHR UK said it obtained testimonies from detainees held at Al-Azooli prison in Al-Ismailia, their families and lawyers, and found there are "two types of prisoners; those held on criminal charges awaiting trial before the State Security Courts and political detainees who have been abducted by police officers dressed in civilians clothes and kept at Al-Azooli prison for periods up to seven months, in some cases, without being able to contact their families or lawyers".

Testimonies also referred to "the brutal torture methods used" at Al-Azooli which include electrocution, pouring boiling water and oil on prisoners and sexual assault. "In some cases, detainees died as a result of torture," the group explained.

Other detainees remain held there without their family having any knowledge of their whereabouts.

Al-Azooli prison is a military detention centre housed within Al-Jala' military camp in Al-Ismailia. It was originally built "to hold army officers and those being tried in military courts", the prison was named after General Al-Azooli who was notorious for brutally torturing prisoners.

Under Egyptian law it is illegal to detain civilians at Al-Azooli prison as the prison falls outside the control of the executive and judiciary.

The AOHR UK is calling on the UN secretary general to send a fact-finding mission "to put an end to these abuses and close down these prisons".

 

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