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‘Egypt is the republic of fear:’ New videos show torture of prisoners inside Katameya Prison

In one of the videos an inmate is blindfolded and lies face down on the floor with his hands tied to his legs behind his back, whilst others have wounds on their legs and backs.

January 27, 2022 at 8:21 am

Two new videos showing the torture of detainees inside Katameya Prison in Egypt have been leaked to MEMO by outspoken Egyptian asylee living in Chicago Aly Hussin Mahdy.

In one of the videos an inmate is blindfolded and lies face down on the floor with his hands tied to his legs behind his back, whilst others have wounds on their legs and backs.

The video is believed to have been filmed in 2021 by other detainees inside the prison and was sent to Aly in November.

Last year the human rights organisation Egyptian Front released a report about Katameya Prison which described poor conditions inside the cells, including a lack of ventilation. It said that there was sewage inside and that they were overcrowded.

This latest video follows the publication of footage on Monday by the Guardian of detainees at a different police station in the Salam neighbourhood of Cairo being hung by their arms from a metal grate.

Another video, which the newspaper didn’t publish, is reported to show inmates with open wounds on their heads and bruising to the chest which they said was inflicted by guards hitting them with sticks.

In 2017 Human Rights Watch said that torture is a “systematic practice in Egypt” against suspected dissidents and that the “torture epidemic in Egypt likely constitutes a crime against humanity.”

A year later Carnegie said that the increased use of torture by officials in Egypt is a sign of “growing impunity among the security apparatus, lack of credibility of the judiciary and breakdown of the rule of law.”

The Egyptian government has also tortured minors and threatened others with torture. Haitham Rahim, who was 14 years old when he was arrested by Egyptian authorities, told MEMO that when he was in prison,

I saw a scene I’ve only seen in horror movies. I saw detainees lined up on the left and right with signs of torture all over their bodies, some were completely naked.

READ: Leaked video shows torture in Cairo police station

Prisoners have been tortured to death during so called interrogations, including in 2020 when shop owner Islam Al-Ostraly died of torture after being arrested because he refused to pay a bribe.

In 2018 police officers detained and beat to death 22-year-old Afroto whilst he was in custody at Moqattam police station.

Protesters gathered to demonstrate against police brutality following the killing of both men.

This latest video from inside Katameya Prison has been leaked ahead of the anniversary of 28 January, the Friday of Anger, an iconic day three days after the start of the Egyptian revolution when hundreds of thousands of protesters joined the uprising – in part motivated by police violence – after Friday prayers.

Egyptian authorities shut down mobile phone networks and the internet to disrupt the protests and shot into the crowds.

Commenting on this latest video Aly said: “These scenes were the main reason for the Egyptian revolution, and on its 11th anniversary we see that the same scenario is being repeated, but in an uglier way than before.”

“My message to the world and to the Biden Administration is, stop sending aid to the Egyptian regime, stop selling weapons to the Egyptian regime, because [President Abdel Fattah Al-]Sisi is using your aid and weapons to torture the Egyptian people.”

Aly’s father, cousin and uncle were arrested in early 2021 as part of efforts by the Egyptian regime to silence outspoken dissidents abroad.

“The Egyptian regime kidnapped three of my family members this time last year, because I’m practicing one of my rights inside the United States of America, which is freedom of speech, and I’m scared that these scenes of torture are what is happening to my family members right now.”

“Egypt is now the republic of fear.”

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.