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Egypt: Israa Abdelfattah strangled in custody

October 15, 2019 at 11:37 am

Egyptian activist Israa Abdelfattah [Twitter]

Egyptian activist Israa Abdelfattah, who was kidnapped from a street in Cairo over the weekend, has detailed how she was tortured and beaten in custody.

On Saturday Israa was abducted by plainclothes police officers from her car and taken away in a van to an undisclosed place of detention and banned from contacting family or lawyers.

Israa is known for playing a key role in the 2011 uprising, co-founding the April 6 movement in 2008 and calling for a revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak.

When Israa was brought before prosecutors late Sunday morning she told them police officers tortured her, attempted to strangle her and forced her to stay in a standing position for nearly eight hours.

The abuse began after she refused to let a police officer access her phone and several officers began to beat her. When she continued to refuse him access he took her sweatshirt off and used it to strangle her telling her: “your life in exchange for the phone.”

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She gave him her password and he then handcuffed her hands and legs so that she could not sit or kneel, he then left her for hours. She was told that if she revealed to the prosecutor what happened to her she would face more torture.

Israa is one of a number of journalists, lawyers and former detainees who have been arrested in Egypt over recent weeks as the government moves to thwart protests that have erupted across the country since 20 September.

Amnesty International has said that Israa’s arrest is another indication that Egyptian authorities are “stepping up brutality against human rights defenders in a bid to ‘terrorise’ critics and opponents.”

North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International said: “Esraa Abdelfattah has been targeted on spurious grounds and is being arbitrarily detained for her work defending human rights. She should be immediately and unconditionally released.”

Roughly 3,000 people have been arrested as part of the crackdown, including over 100 children and over 80 women in September alone.

Last week, detained activist Alaa Abdul Fattah told his lawyers that he had been beaten, threatened and robbed inside prison and was told that his treatment would get worse if he spoke out.

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