‘No systematic torture in prisons': Assistant Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice Adel Abdel-Hameed - YOUM7/Essam al-Shamy
By RANDA EL-BANNA

CAIRO: Reports of torture in prisons have not exceeded 20 in the past six months, and therefore cannot be considered systematic, Assistant of Minister of Justice for the Human Rights Sector, Judge Ahmed el-Sergany, told Youm 7 Thursday.

He added that torture is “unacceptable and must be faced firmly.”

In the past several months, authorities have been accused of arresting people arbitrarily, in what Samia Jahin, a member of Freedom for the Brave, a detainee’s rights advocacy group, described as a “violent police crackdown.” The number of such detainees is estimated between 16,000 and 23,000, the group said in a April 8 press conference.

“We have seen police officers threatening suspects that they will continue torturing them if they file a complaint to prosecution authorities,” Mahmoud Bilal, a lawyer at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, told Al-Shorouq News on Feb. 10.

Sergany said there is no committee from the human’s rights sector responsible to inspect prisons, which is the purview of the Ministry of Interior.

Sixteen human rights organizations signed a joint statement in February demanding a halt to the use of torture. The Ministry of Interior responded with a denial of any torture inside prisons.

Sergany told Youm7 that he and a delegation of members of the Ministry of Justice and human rights organizations visited the Italian ministries of interior, foreign affairs, health and general prosecution. He also added that the human rights sector is working on developing new plans that guarantee human’s rights in all factions of the society.

“Sexual harassment inside prison is becoming a regular act,” said Ayat Hamada who was arrested at Al-Azhar University. “It is good that I came out of jail still a virgin,” she told The Cairo Post April 8.

“Authorities practice systematic repression, they want you to be scared and if you get out they want you to stay at home and not speak,” she added.

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