EGYPT: With British men's trial ongoing, Egyptian Government urged to act following UN experts' torture review

With allegations of torture surrounding the ongoing trial of three Britons and 23 Egyptians in an (Emergency) Supreme State Security Court, Amnesty International noted with particular concern the UN Committee's condemnation of torture at the Egyptian State Security Intelligence (SSI)'s buildings. Numerous reports of torture and ill-treatment involving SSI locations - including of four British men in April this year - have been received by Amnesty International across many years.

Only last week Amnesty International published its own report on 'systematic' torture in the country.

The UN Committee also highlighted the 'abuse of under-age detainees, especially sexual harassment of girls, committed by law enforcement officials,' and ill-treatment of people because of their sexual orientation.

Amnesty International said:

'The Egyptian government must act decisively to end torture by adopting the necessary legal and practical measures to ensure effective implementation of all the provisions of international human rights treaties, in particular the Convention against Torture.'

The examination of Egypt by the Committee against Torture, observed by representatives of several Egyptian and international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, has led to the Committee issuing 19 recommendations to the Egyptian government. Of these Amnesty International views the following measures as particularly urgent:

* guaranteeing that all complaints of torture or ill-treatment, including those relating to death in custody, are investigated promptly, impartially and independently

* ensuring mandatory inspection of all places of detention

* abolishing incommunicado detention

* halting and punishing all practices involving abuse of minors in places of detention

* enabling victims of torture to obtain full redress, while avoiding unjustified disparities in compensation

* ensuring that human rights organisations pursue their activities unhindered, and in particular that they have access to all places of detention and prisons.

Amnesty International recently published a 22-page report, Egypt: No protection - systematic torture continues, exposing systematic torture in Egypt, and has also launched a short web-based video of testimonies of torture survivors and human rights activists.

For further information on torture in Egypt, including the case of four British citizens, Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett, Reza Pankhurst and Hassan Rizfi, see:

'Egypt: With trial of three Britons ongoing, new report exposes systematic torture' (13 November 2002)

'Egypt: Opening of trial of three Britons and 23 Egyptians raises unfair trial and torture concerns' press release (18 October 2002) /p>

'Egypt: No access to prisons for Amnesty International delegates' press release (8 October 2002) /p>

'Egypt: Torture allegations concerning four Britons must be investigated' press release (3 July 2002) /p>

Other related Amnesty International material:

'Egypt: No protection - systematic torture continues' report (13 November 2002) /p>

Video of testimonies of torture survivors and human rights activists (November 2002) /p>

'Egypt: Fifty-one convicted in unfair' press release (10 September 2002) /p>

'Egypt: Continuing repression of non-violent political activities' press release (30 July 2002) /p>

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