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UN-backed conference on torture to be held in torture capital, Cairo

Relatives speak with Egyptian prisoners as they stand behind bars in a court in Cairo on 9 August 2015 [Stringer/Apaimages]
Relatives of those in prison speak through the bars in a court in Cairo on 9 August 2015 [Stringer/Apaimages]

The United Nations is holding a regional conference on torture in Egypt at the same time human rights organisations are criticising the country for torturing people to death in prison.

Whilst these independent human rights organisations will not be allowed to attend the conference, the Egyptian government’s own human rights body, the National Council for Human Rights, will be there.

Former Minister Mohamed Fayek and now president of the national council will give a welcome address at the conference set to be held on 4-5 September, alongside Minister of Justice Hussam Abdelrahim and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry.

All three have been key in pushing the state’s narrative on terror under which severe human rights abuses have been carried out; Abdelrahim stated in January that under coup leader and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egypt can defeat terrorism and extremism.

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The Muslim Brotherhood has been labelled a terror organisation and thousands of its members have been tortured in prison in Egypt. Any opposition figure arrested is charged with belonging to or funding the group.

Under the government’s war on terror, the Bedouin in the Sinai are being ethnically cleansed.

Human Rights Watch has slammed Egypt’s pattern of systematic torture in which defendants are held in stress positions, raped, threatened with rape and given electric shocks.

In May the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK recorded 762 cases in which detainees have died from medical negligence, poor conditions and torture in Egypt’s jails since the coup against the country’s first democratically elected president in July 2013.

Categories
AfricaAmnesty InternationalEgyptInternational OrganisationsNewsUN
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