Torture allegations against MB in high-profile trials
Ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed speaks with other senior figures in court cage - REUTERS/Stringer

CAIRO: Several allegations of “torture” have been brought against Muslim Brotherhood members since 2011, accusations that have led to two high-profile trials.

On Tuesday, Youm7 published the full testimony of a prosecution witness in one of the trials, for the documented abuse of lawyer Osama Kamal near Tahrir Square allegedly by Brotherhood leaders Mohamed el-Beltagy, Hazem Farouk and Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy on Feb. 3, 2011.

Former Minister of Youth Osama Yassin, Al Jazeera anchor Ahmed Mansour, former members of parliament Amr Zaki and Mohsen Rady are also accused in the case, according to Ahram Gate.

The account of the witness supported accusations of assault on Kamal, Youm7 reported. The last trial session was March 8 and another is scheduled for April 12.

The defendants were arrested in the months following the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in on Aug. 14, 2013, except for Mansour, who is reportedly outside of Egypt. Videos of Kamal’s beating had been uploaded by a number of Youtube accounts. The oldest video was uploaded by “SoundofEgypt” in May 2012.

The videos show Brotherhood members, including Farouk, interrogating a hand-tied, bruised Kamal, who is crying out in pain at slaps and other forms of abuse.

In a different parts of the video, Kamal had “Major Osama Kamal, state security officer” written on his chest. Other hand-tied men also appeared in the video.

In an interview aired on the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera in August 2011, Hegazy said that protesters had captured “a plain-clothes officer near Tahrir Square,” referring to Kamal, during the January 25 Revolution.

“They brought him to us and we did the impossible so that he confessed. That’s why I became sure he was indeed a state security officer,” Hegazy said. “No one would bear what happened to this man unless he was trained.”

Hegazy also said in the interview that protesters handed over 1,800 identity cards to the military after Feb. 11, 2011, when Mubarak left office.

The Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in that began on June 30 in support for then President Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the military July 3, was reportedly the location of further abuse of suspected anti-Morsi protesters.

On Aug. 2, Amnesty International reported that eight bodies, at least five of which were found near pro-Morsi sit-ins, had arrived at Zeinhom Morgue in Cairo with signs of “torture.”

An independent campaign group called “I am Against Torture” told Amnesty that 11 people had died of “torture” at the hands of Morsi supporters since the massive protests against him on June 30.

Videos online show Brotherhood members interrogating and abusing anti-Morsi protesters on Dec. 4 and 5, 2012, outside of the Ithadeya presidential palace in Heliopolis. The demonstrators were protesting a constitutional declaration that Morsi had issued on Nov. 22, 2012, granting unprecedented immunity for his presidential decrees, and those of the upper house of Egypt’s parliament (Shura Council), and the mostly Islamist constituent assembly tasked with drafting the 2012 constitution.

Late on Dec. 4, police forces reportedly withdrew from outside of the palace and did not clash with the protesters. However, bloody confrontations between anti-Morsi protesters and Brotherhood supporters ensued.

Dozens of protesters were injured in the events and nine people including a journalist were shot to death, but only the families of three filed lawsuits, Mohamed Farouk, a lawyer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information who is defending the families, told The Cairo Post in February.

Morsi and 14 other Brotherhood members and supporters are being tried for the deaths of those outside of the palace, and for inciting violence.

The commissioner of the Heliopolis Police Station presented an official report to the prosecution in the Ithadeya palace case, Taher Abou el-Nasr, legal adviser at ANHRI and a lawyer in the Ithadeya case, told The Cairo Post in February.

The report states that members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, who refused to identify themselves, arrived at the station during the events with beaten protesters that they had captured, according to Abou el-Nasr.

The most recent session of the Ithadeya case was held Monday at the Police Academy in Cairo, where the Cairo Appeal Court rejected a request to replace one of the judges deliberating the case, Youm7 reported.

The request was filed by Essam el-Erian, one of the defendants and vice chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, Youm7 reported. The next trial session has not been scheduled yet.

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