Egypt: Torture allegations concerning four Britons must be investigated

Amnesty International is extremely concerned at reports that the four men - Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett, Reza Pankhurst and Hassan Rizfi, who were arrested on 1 April 2002 in Cairo and held for 10 days in incommunicado detention - have been tortured whilst held at premises of the State Security Intelligence, where torture is commonplace.

British officials have raised the allegations of torture and ill-treatment with the Egyptian authorities after representatives of the British Embassy in Cairo were allowed to visit the men at Mazraat Tora Prison on 11 April 2002.

Amnesty International said:

'Torture is notoriously widespread in the location where these men have been held and allegations from the men that they have been tortured - including with electric shocks - are extremely worrying.'

Amnesty International notes that article 12 of the UN Convention against Torture - to which Egypt acceded in 1986 - obliges Egypt to make such investigations.

Background

For about 12 weeks the four men were administratively held under the order of the Interior Minister based on provisions of emergency legislation. They are now held in pre-trial detention based on a decision of the public prosecution office - extendable by up to six months.

The four men have not been formally charged but are accused of affiliation with Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami (the Islamic Liberation Party) which is banned in Egypt. Over the last three months, more than 100 Egyptians have reportedly been detained under similar accusations without having been charged. Many of them appear to have been held for weeks in incommunicado detention where they have been at risk of torture and ill-treatment.

For an Amnesty International report on torture in Egypt (published 28/2/2001) see: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE120012001?OpenDocument&of=COUNTR…\EGYPT

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