Video: Officer, 4 police personnel charged with abusing suspects
Screenshot from video showing police officers allegedly abusing suspects

CAIRO: “Look at me, stand up straight, this is going on Facebook'; an unseen police personnel says while recording a group of men and women standing facing a cement wall and raising their hands in what appears to be a warehouse; sawdust is littered on the floor.

The video, titled “Police officers harass defendants” was uploaded Wednesday and went viral on social media. It showed one officer, who is referred to as Shrief, with other colleagues who are trying to coerce confessions out of a group of suspects.

As one of them was filming the alleged suspects of an uncertain crime, he curses and orders them to look at the camera, saying he would upload the video on social media in order to humiliate them. Some of the group tried to hide their faces from the camera. The video also shows women in the group being beaten and harassed by an arresting officer.

Youm7 reported that the suspects were arrested in a robbery incident took place in Zagazig city, and that the video was remarked as an investigation.

An unnamed security source in the Dakahlia Security Directorate told Youm7 Thursday that all of the police personnel who appeared in the video along with the officer were referred to investigation; it was assured that ”firm” disciplinary measures would be implemented against every person who participated in creating the video.

On March 24, 10 NGOs issued a statement condemning “ torture and collective punishments taking place in Egyptian prison.”  They said that some of them received reports of torture taking place over the last few weeks in Borg El Arab, Tora prisons and Abu Zaabal prison complex.

The statement mentioned that March 19, masked men in the central security forces broke into cells and attacked prisoners with clubs and police dogs, as well as using tear gas that injured a number of prisoners.

“Prison forces then took 15 prisoners from their cells, and tortured them for three hours in front of the rest of the prisoners, stripping them of their clothes, forcing them to verbally abuse themselves and then transferred them to disciplinary solitary cells.” the statement stated.

Despite continuing accusations by NGOs and previous prisoners about torture cases inside jails and police stations, the ministry denied that any of these cases actually occurred.

The minister’s former assistant for public relations and media Gen. Abd El Fatah Osman said in a phone call to Manshet TV show in July 2014 “Egyptian prisons have become more like hotels, and all the accusations of any torture inside jails are not even close to the truth.”

In August 2014,The Arab Organization for Penal Reform stated that their lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior had received 16 final verdicts in favor of political prisoners who were tortured during the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The statement added that the organization received compensation for the prisoners worth 403,000 EGP ($52,800.)

“We can say that these verdicts by the Egyptian court are the ‘final truth’ that cannot be doubted by anyone including the Ministry of Interior itself. The ministry, in our case, is the ‘defendant’ from which we are not seeking confession, regarding the torture case inside jails and police stations. The Egyptian judiciary is an independent body and no one is allowed to comment on its verdicts,” human rights lawyer Mohammad Zare, head of the Arab Organization for Penal Reform, told The Cairo Post.

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