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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                  

Arab Republic of Egypt

Police brutality and impunity for abuses by security forces were catalysts for the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, but no reforms have since been enacted.

Reports of alleged extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances continued throughout 2017, with NGOs documenting hundreds of cases.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Egypt

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Egypt.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Egypt

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 18 July 2021]


According to domestic and international human rights organizations, police and prison guards resorted to torture to extract information from detainees, including minors. Reported techniques included beatings with fists, whips, rifle butts, and other objects; prolonged suspension by the limbs from a ceiling or door; electric shocks; sexual assault; and attacks by dogs. On March 22, Human Rights Watch issued a report documenting alleged abuses, including torture, by security forces against 20 minors as young as 12 while under arrest between 2014 and 2019. Human Rights Watch characterized torture as a systematic practice in the country.


Conditions in prisons and detention centers were harsh and potentially life threatening due to overcrowding, physical abuse, inadequate medical care, poor infrastructure, and poor ventilation.

No One Cared He Was A Child - Egyptian Security Forces’ Abuse of Children in Detention

Human Rights Watch and Belady: An Island for Humanity, 23 March 2020

[accessed 6 April 2020]

Torture and Ill-Treatment

Fourteen of the children whose cases are documented in this report said they were tortured in pre-trial detention, usually during interrogation. In two additional cases, one child was verbally threatened into confessing to crimes, and another was badly beaten by prison guards.

One boy said his interrogators tied him to a chair for three days. Seven children said security officers shocked them with electricty during interrogation, including two children who said officers subjected them to shocks in the face with stun guns, and two who said officers applied electric shocks to their genitals. A boy whom authorities forcibly disappeared and tortured at age 16 told a relative that he was worried he might “never marry or be able to have children” because of what security officers had done to him during interrogations.

Two other children, ages 14 and 17, detained in separate cases, said after authorities forcibly disappeared them security officials suspended them from their arms and dislocated their shoulders. The 14-year-old said that another prisoner who happened to be a doctor was able to re-set his joints in their prison cell. The 17-year-old said that during one interrogation, an officer forced his mouth open and spat in it. After a week of being tortured in detention, he confessed to destroying public property.

In other cases, security officials inflicted torture or cruel, humiliating, and degrading treatment on children. Two children said security officers denied them blankets or warm clothing for days in unheated cells or corridors in security facilities during winter. Three children were placed in solitary confinement, and at least three have been denied any family visits during years in detention. A security officer forced Hamza H. to “stand on his toes with sharp nails placed under his [bare] heels” for hours, after prison officials overheard the boy speaking to another detainee in his cell, which they had prohibited, a relative said. It was his birthday, “and he hates his birthday now, he does not want to celebrate it again.” Sharif S., who was suffering from serious burns at the time of his arrest said that when he asked police for medical care they “replied by beating me, hard,” and that when he refused to cooperate with police instructions to help them arrest another suspect, “the gates of hell were opened,” and officers beat and shocked him with electricty for four hours.

Egypt: Children face shocking violations including torture and enforced disappearance

Amnesty International, 20 November 2018

[accessed 21 November 2018]

[accessed 21 November 2018]

These findings reveal how Egyptian authorities have subjected children to horrific violations including torture, prolonged solitary confinement and enforced disappearance for periods of up to sev­­en months, demonstrating an absolutely shameful disregard for children’s rights.

The families of six children who were subjected to torture, interviewed by Amnesty International and the Egyptian Front for Human Rights, said that during detention they were severely beaten, given electric shocks on their genitalia and other parts of their body or suspended by their limbs. In some cases, the children said they were tortured in order to “confess” to offenses that they did not commit.

Aser Mohamed was forcibly disappeared in January 2016 at the age of 14, where he was held incommunicado for 35 days and tortured in order to “confess” to “membership in a terrorist group” and attacking a hotel, offenses that he says he did not commit. He is now facing a trial along with adults which could see him sentenced to jail.

Abdallah Boumidan was 12 years old when he was arrested in December 2017 by the Egyptian military in Arish City in Northern Sinai, then forcibly disappeared and tortured. He was held incommunicado for seven months before being charged with “membership of a terrorist group” and transferred to solitary confinement, where his medical situation severely deteriorated.

Egyptian authorities have also imprisoned children alongside adults in violation of international human rights law. In some cases, they were also held in overcrowded cells and denied sufficient food. In at least two cases children were held in prolonged solitary confinement.

Egypt: An Account of Alleged Torture in Secret Detention

Human Rights Watch, Beirut, 11 October 2018

[accessed 13 October 2018]

Egyptian-American Held for 4 Months Before Arrest Was Revealed

ARREST, TORTURE, AND RAPE - In incommunicado detention, he said, National Security Agents severely beat him, cutting his chin and bloodying his nose. They usually stripped him naked during the abuse. They hung him from his arms for days, dislocating both his shoulders. They repeatedly gave him electric shocks to the head, tongue, the anus, the testicles, and his groin area. In Smouha, they used wires and in Abbassiya, they mostly used electric shock devices, which he sometimes saw being charged. Sometimes, he said, they placed him on a wet sheet to increase the effect of electric shocks.

He said that agents used a taser on his leg, causing an open wound that became infected. His leg became swollen and inflamed and the pain and infection made him faint repeatedly. They operated on the wound without anesthesia and while an officer was standing over his chest, he said.

He said that the agents raped him on one occasion with a wooden stick. On another occasion, Hassan said, after he insulted an officer who threatened to arrest his wife, the officer ordered another man to rape Hassan anally. “When they did this, I was ready to say [give any confessions] what they wanted,” he said.

“The worst part was electrocution,” he said, breaking into tears. At the end of each session, they would have to carry him back to his detention cell because he could not walk, he said. He added the agents tried to “fix” his most visible injuries on his body before sending him to military prosecutors on May 3.

Egypt uses solitary confinement as 'torture'

Samy Magdy, Associated Press AP, Cairo, 7 May 2018

[accessed 10 May 2018]

[accessed 31 December 2018]

Egypt is holding political prisoners in "prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement" that amounts to "torture," an international rights group said Monday.

"Under international law, solitary confinement may only be used as a disciplinary measure of last resort, but the Egyptian authorities are using it as a horrifying 'extra' punishment for political prisoners," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaigns director.

The London-based group said it has documented 36 cases of prisoners being held in solitary confinement, including six who have been isolated from the outside world since 2013. It said the prisoners in solitary confinement remain in their cells for 22 hours a day.

Basing its report on dozens of interviews with former prisoners and with family members of current prisoners, the group said abuses range from extended beatings to lack of food, humiliation and restricted movement for years on end.

The prolonged solitary confinement is usually aimed at extracting confessions and punishing prisoners for protesting ill-treatment, but some are held in solitary confinement purely because of their past political activism, Amnesty said.

Amnesty award goes to Egypt's Nadeem Center for torture victims

Deutsche Welle DW-WORLD.DE, 25.01.2018

[accessed 25 January 2018]

Amnesty International's German branch has awarded a human rights prize to Egypt's Nadeem Center. For the past 20 years, the center has documented torture carried out by security forces and treated victims at its clinic.

The Cairo-based Nadeem Center has been documenting torture carried out by Egyptian security forces for the past 20 years. The Egyptian government denies that it uses torture.

The center also provided victims with medical and psychological care at a specialist clinic which was the "only one of its kind in the country," Amnesty said.

Prosecution office refers two policemen to court over torture

Egypt Today, Cairo, 15 Jan 2018

[accessed 15 January 2018]

South Cairo Prosecution office referred Monday two police officers to be tried before urgent criminal court on the charges of torturing a citizen to death inside Mokkatam police station in South of Cairo.

The Prosecution office's decision came after receiving the forensic report which revealed that the cause of death was an internal bleeding caused by a broken rib. Unlike what the police claimed, that Afroto’s death took place due to drugs overdose.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


Police brutality and impunity for abuses by security forces were catalysts for the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, but no reforms have since been enacted. Reports of alleged extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances continued throughout 2017, with NGOs documenting hundreds of cases. The state of emergency declared by President Sisi in April grants security forces additional powers of arrest and detention, increasing opportunities for physical abuse. Prison conditions are very poor; inmates are subject to torture, overcrowding, and a lack of sanitation and medical care. A 2015 antiterrorism law provided a vague definition for terrorism and granted law enforcement personnel sweeping powers and immunity while carrying out their duties.

Egyptian court sentences policemen in rare torture verdict

Associated Press AP Cairo, 25 October 2017

[accessed 27 October 2017]

An Egyptian court has sentenced a policeman to seven years in prison for torturing a worker to death, a rare decision against a force largely seen as operating with impunity.

The Court of Cassation sentenced officer Samir Hani on Wednesday, and also handed down three-year sentences to five other policemen involved in the case. It rejected appeals and issued what will be a final verdict.

The men were initially convicted last July of beating worker Talaat el-Rashidi to death in the Luxor police station after he was arrested in front of a coffee shop for possession of narcotics.

El Nadeem documents 67 torture cases, 87 enforced disappearances in April

Daily News Egypt, 9 May 2016

[accessed 10 August 2016]

El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence published its monthly report documenting Interior Ministry and state civil violations in April.

The report stated that there have been 46 extrajudicial killings, nine deaths inside prisons, 67 cases of torture and mistreatment inside prisons, and 53 incidents of improper medical treatment inside prisons.

Additionally, the report recorded that there have been 87 enforced disappearances. Only 33 individuals that were reported missing have subsequently been located. There were 30 cases of violence committed by various state apparatuses.

In March, the centre documented 202 deaths, 105 enforced disappearances, and 39 cases of medical negligence inside detention centres.

Rights groups concerned of investigations into anti-torture judges

Nourhan Fahmy, Daily News, June 3, 2015

[accessed 11 August 2015]

[accessed 24 July 2017]

A number of NGOs and human rights organisations released a statement Wednesday criticising the authorities’ interrogation of two judges and the questioning of lawyer Negad Al-Borai.

The interrogations occurred in light of their submitting a draft law to combat torture.

The joint statement was signed by 18 organisations including: the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR); and El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.

The two judges under investigation, Assem Abd Al-Gabbar and Hisham Raouf, are accused of contributing to the drafting of an anti-torture law and their participation in a workshop.

3rd detainee dies in Matariya police station

Daily News Egypt, 28 Feb 2015

[accessed 11 August 2015]

Moustafa Ibrahim was found dead inside Matariya police station’s detention room, with fellow inmates asserting he was tied by a police officer for eight hours until his death, prosecution findings reported.

Ibrahim was detained on charges of possessing narcotics, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported, with the newspaper also publishing a graphic picture of the deceased in the morgue. It was not clear from the picture whether he retained any signs of torture.

A legal source who is following the case, and who requested anonymity, said that Ibrahim died on 22 February. His death occured after “being tortured by electric shocks and being tied from the ceiling for eight hours, which caused an internal hemorrhage”.

Ibrahim is the third prisoner to die inside the controversial Matariya police station. Two men died last week in the same police station, with the families of the deceased accusing the police of torture. The two were named as Emad Ahmed El-Attar and a lawyer named Kareem Hamdy.

2 prisoners allegedly die of torture in Matariya Police Station

Adham Youssef, Daily News Egypt, 25 February 2015

[accessed 31 March 2015]

Two men died Tuesday night inside the detention room of the Matariya Police Station, with the families of the deceased accusing the police of torture.

One of the dead prisoners is Emad Ahmed El-Attar, who was arrested on 26 January during protests in Matariya. His cousin Ahmed told Daily News Egypt that El-Attar was severely tortured by police agents inside the police station.

“He was denied any medical care for a month, and was beaten and thrown inside the bathroom of the police station,” his cousin said. “Sometimes, his family had to bribe the guards to smuggle food or medication to him. For the last 15 days, he witnessed terrible treatment and died.”

 Egypt: Investigate Professor’s Allegations of Torture

Human Rights Watch, New York, 3 February 2015

[accessed 29 March 2015]

According to Ghoniem and relatives of Shehata, National Security officers abused and electrocuted Shehata and his brother for four days in a National Security building in Sheikh Zaid city, southwest of Cairo, before sending them to prosecutors in the Supreme State Security division of the Prosecutor General. The prosecutor ordered them jailed pending investigations into charges that included belonging to a terrorist group – the Muslim Brotherhood – and possessing weapons.

 “They wanted to videotape [Shehata] saying dictated confessions...every time he refused, they electrocuted him again,” Ghoniem said. “They also tortured his brother As’ad in front of him to abuse him psychologically.”

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT - At least 90 people died in local police stations and security directorates in the governorates of Cairo and Giza alone in 2014, according to an investigation by the Egyptian newspaper Al Watan, which cited statistics from the Justice Ministry’s Forensic Medical Authority. That number represented a 38 percent increase from the year before.

Detainees also described severe beatings during arrest, arrival at police stations, and transfer between prisons. Scores detained in January protests complained of torture, including electric shocks, to coerce confessions. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights documented the enforced disappearance and torture of dozens of civilians in military detention.

NGOs call to end forced disappearances, torture in Ismailia prison

Ali Omar, Daily News, 24 May 2014

[accessed 25 May 2014]

Twenty-three to twenty-five men are locked in a six square metre cell with a lack of ventilation, light and sanitation, both statements  detailed. Prisoners are allowed to go to the bathroom once a day, for five minutes before sunrise.

Detainees are often subjected to torture, “including the use of electric shocks, burns and other ill-treatment during interrogations at the military camp.” First hand reports from former detainees arrested by plainclothes men from their homes or seemingly at random on the street corroborate the NGO’s accusations.

According to the statements, torture is often used to extract “confessions” from detainees, who  have not been charged or referred to prosecutors or courts, and have had no access to their lawyers.

Dozens of disappeared civilians face ongoing torture at military prison

Amnesty International, 22 May 2014

[accessed 22 May 2014]

TESTIMONIES/CASES -- ONE PRISONER RECENTLY RELEASED FROM AL AZOULY MILITARY PRISON -- “The military arrested me in January [2014]…and took me on the same day to Al Azouly prison after they beat me in a military camp in my town for four hours. I was held in Al Azouly prison for 76 days without seeing a judge or a prosecutor, I was not even allowed to talk to my family. They put me on the third floor of the prison in solitary confinement. The authorities there interrogated me six times. They took off my clothes and gave me electric shocks all over my body during the investigations, including on my testicles, and beat me with batons and military shoes. They handcuffed me from behind and hung me on a door for 30 minutes. They always blindfolded me during the investigations. In one interrogation they burned my beard with a lighter. The investigations were held in another building inside the camp…the soldiers call it S1 and S8 buildings [which are military intelligence buildings]. I could not see the investigators because I was blindfolded in all investigations and handcuffed from behind. They wanted to know information about protests and demonstrations, they asked about the active members in the university. They wanted to know who funds protests, who holds weapons and who buys them. They also asked me about my affiliation and whether I belong to the Muslim Brotherhood…

After 25 days I was transferred to another cell with another 23 prisoners. Most of the persons in this cell were from Sinai. One of the prisoners had burns on his body…he mentioned that they put out cigarettes on his body. We were allowed out of the cell once a day to the bathroom before sunrise, and for five minutes for all the 23 persons in the cell. The food was very poor. I was then released without a prosecutor’s order or investigations …they took me from prison and put me outside gate 2 of the military camp.”

Egypt torture claims: They electrocuted me, says 15-year-old boy

BBC News Middle East, 28 March 2014

[accessed 30 March 2014]

Ahmed Abdel Fattah, 15, says he spent a month behind bars after being arrested near to an Islamist protest north of Cairo in late January.

He told the BBC police accused him of being from the Muslim Brotherhood, and electrocuted him repeatedly.

Videos from Egypt prisons paint bleak picture

Al Jazeera, 09 Mar 2014

[accessed 17 March 2014]

Videotaped testimonies of prisoners currently held in Egyptian jails are painting a picture of arbitrary arrest, torture, forced confessions and cramped prison cells.

The videos – recorded on mobile phones, smuggled out of prison and obtained by journalists – were the first to show current detainees giving an account of prison conditions from within their cells.

"They tortured me in ways I can't describe. They started making me memorise confessions, they told me, 'You're going to stand before someone and you have to say what we tell you word for word,'" said one young man who claimed to be a university student.

"They were questioning me about things I have no idea about, and about people I don’t know… They said they would bring my mother here and rape her in front of me. Because of all the torture and the threats they made, I told them I will say whatever you want," said the prisoner.

He said he was beaten whenever he refrained from answering.

Egyptian detainees complain of police torture

Reuters, Al-Akhbar, 11 February 2014

[accessed 16 February 2014]

[accessed 31 December 2018]

"He told me he was hanging by his arms from the ceiling and beaten very badly. He was taken to a room and blindfolded so he could hear the screams of men who were being tortured," said Hoda Mahmoud, referring to her detained husband Khaled al-Sayed, adding that some were sexually abused.

"They were electrocuted, blindfolded for 16 hours, and told: 'If you need to go to the bathroom, go on yourself'," said Heba Mohamed, wife of detainee Nagy Kamel.   Khaled Dawoud, a liberal activist, quoted one of the detainees saying, "I was electrocuted in my genitals.”

Egypt police 'inflict pain like it's an art'

Louisa Loveluck, GlobalPost – International News, 15 December 2013

[accessed 17 Dec 2013]

“My client was beaten for three continuous days,” says Farouk’s lawyer, Mohamed el Hambouly. “The police are the masters of this. They inflict pain like an it’s art. First, they used the belt, then electric shocks, then the grill.”

Grilling, a torture method for which Egypt’s police have won notoriety, involves strapping a prisoner's hands and feet to wooden planks, then rotating them slowly as they are beaten.

 Human rights lawyer blames prosecution for ‘rampaging’ torture in Egypt

Fady Ashraf,  10 December 2013

[accessed 10 Dec 2013]

Prominent human rights lawyer Negad El-Borai has blamed the general prosecution for the “rampage of torture crimes in Egypt,” adding that it “investigates such crimes extremely slowly”.

“Another problem with the prosecution is that they should investigate the crime of torture before investigating the original crime that the tortured defendant is charged with, which they don’t do. They just write down the torture complaint and go on with investigating the original case,” El-Borai said. United Group lawyer Mahmoud Rady said that prosecution does not allow lawyers to review torture cases most of the time.

He added: “Putting an end to torture requires political will, and a price that the ruling authority must pay… that price is choosing between security and human rights; in the long run, choosing human rights will [most] benefit society.”

Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians after Muslim Brotherhood protest

Fox News, 26 March 2013

[accessed 28 March 2013]

Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear will only get worse.

Ayad said he was beaten for hours with sticks before being left for dead on a roadside. Amir’s brother, Ezzat Ayad, said he received an anonymous phone call at 3 a.m. Saturday, with the caller saying his brother had been found near death and had been taken to the ambulance.

“He underwent radiation treatment that proved that he suffered a fracture in the bottom of his skull, a fracture in his left arm, a bleeding in the right eye, and birdshot injuries,” Ezzat Ayad said..

Rights Group Accuses Police of Using Torture and Violence

The Associated Press AP, January 22, 2013

[accessed 23 January 2013]

An Egyptian rights group on Tuesday accused the country’s police of “acting like a gang,” torturing detainees and using violence to impose control. The report by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights documented 16 cases of police violence in which 11 people were killed and 10 were tortured inside police stations. Three died under torture during the first four months after President Mohammed Morsi took office on June 30, it said.

Two new alleged torture victims in Alexandria

Ahmed Aboul Enein, Daily News Egypt, 12 January 2013

[accessed 12 January 2013]

The officers allegedly beat and sexually assaulted the men in front of other officers and prisoners in the presence of the prison warden, who did not attempt to stop them.   Mostafa Mostafa later attempted suicide, said the lawyers in their memo.

Torture was an endemic problem under former President Hosni Mubarak police force, and the habit carries on until today.   The death of Khaled Said, considered by many one of the sparks of the 25 January 2011 uprising, was tortured and beaten to death by two police officers in Alexandria in 2010.   Following the All Saints Church bombing of new year’s eve 2011, police tortured and beat to death Salafi youth Sayed Belal.

After the uprising and during the transitional period under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces torture became a prominent issue. The many clashes with military personnel that marked the frequent protests and sit-ins of that period where often followed by allegations of torture.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/29/4 (2002)

[accessed 27 February 2013]

D. Subjects of concern

5. The Committee is concerned about the following:

(a) The fact that a state of emergency has been in force since 1981, hindering the full consolidation of the rule of law in Egypt;

(b) The many consistent reports received concerning the persistence of the phenomenon of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by law enforcement officials, and the absence of measures to ensure effective protection and prompt and impartial investigations. Many of these reports relate to numerous cases of deaths in custody;

(c) The Committee expresses particular concern at the widespread evidence of torture and ill-treatment in administrative premises under the control of the State Security Investigation Department, the infliction of which is reported to be facilitated by the lack of any mandatory inspection by an independent body of such premises;

(d) The many reports of abuse of under-age detainees, especially sexual harassment of girls, committed by law enforcement officials, the lack of monitoring machinery to investigate such abuse and prosecute those responsible, and the fact that minors kept in places of detention have contact with adult detainees;

(e) The reports received concerning ill-treatment inflicted on men because of their real or alleged homosexuality, apparently encouraged by the lack of adequate clarity in the penal legislation;

(f) The continued use of administrative detention in Egypt;

(g) The fact that victims of torture and ill-treatment have no direct access to the courts to lodge complaints against law enforcement officials;

(h) The excessive length of many of the proceedings initiated in cases of torture and ill-treatment, and the fact that many court decisions to release detainees are not enforced in practice;

(i) The legal and practical restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights work;

(j) The significant disparities in compensation granted to the victims of torture and ill-treatment.

Work on Him Until He Confesses - Impunity for Torture in Egypt

Human Rights Watch, 31 January 2011

[accessed 24 January 2013]

SUMMARY - Throughout June and July 2010 hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets in a rare wave of protests to voice their anger at the police, whom witnesses accused of publicly beating to death Khaled Said, a 28-year-old from Alexandria. Some of these protests were loud and angry, with demonstrators demanding a full investigation into Said's death on June 6, and the prosecution of all those they held responsible, including the interior minister. In one particular event, hundreds of mourners dressed in black lined the Alexandrian coast in Said's memory, staring silently out to sea.

The Khaled Said case-including gruesome pictures of Said's battered body that soon appeared on social networking websites-shook and outraged many in Egypt, where an emergency law grants wide powers to police and security force. Some citizens could identify with Said as victims of police brutality, while many young people could understand the experience of being randomly accosted by police in an internet café – public internet cafés are subject to surveillance and require a national ID to enter. An initial attempt by authorities to cover up police culpability only fueled public anger.

According to Egyptian lawyers and domestic and international human rights groups, which have extensively documented the practice of torture in Egypt, law enforcement officials have used torture and ill-treatment on a widespread, deliberate, and systematic basis over the past two decades to glean confessions and information, or to punish detainees. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has confirmed the systematic nature of torture in Egypt. Criminal Investigations officers and State Security Investigations (SSI) officers, under the authority of the minister of interior, are most often responsible for such abuse. This includes beatings, electric shocks, suspension in painful positions, forced standing for long periods, water-boarding, as well as rape and threatening to rape victims and their family. Since 2004, the ombudsman office of the quasi-official National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has sent the Ministry of Interior and Office of the Public Prosecutor (niyaba in Arabic)-which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime-over 50 complaints on torture and deaths in custody.

Impunity for Torture Fuels Days of Rage

Human Rights Watch, Cairo, January 31, 2011

[accessed 12 January 2013]

They took me to Imbaba police station and put me in a room by myself. Two officers came in and told me to confess. I asked, "What to?" They answered, "Confess to the theft." The head of the Criminal Investigations unit said, "Work on him until he confesses." They handcuffed my hands in front of me and hung me from the door for more than two hours. They had whips and hit me on the legs, on the bottom of my feet, and on my back. When they took me down, they brought a black electric device and applied electro-shocks four or five times to my arms until they started smoking. All of this time they kept saying, "You have to confess." The next morning they beat me again and whipped me with the cable on my back and on my shoulders. I fainted after three hours of the beating.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


No legal or policy reforms were implemented to eradicate torture under either the SCAF or President Morsi’s administration. The People’s Assembly discussed harsher penalties for torture but did not introduce them before its dissolution. Torture and other ill-treatment continued and security forces acted with impunity. One NGO recorded 88 cases of torture or other ill-treatment by police during President Morsi’s first 100 days in power. Protesters arrested by riot police or the military were subjected to severe beatings and electric shocks in custody, including in Tora Prison, south of Cairo, where detainees also suffered overcrowding, inadequate clothing and lack of medical care. Some male protesters said they were abducted and taken to undisclosed locations, where they were given electric shocks and sexually abused to make them give information on their involvement in protests.

George Ramzi Nakhla was arrested in Cairo on 6 February. He said riot police tied his arms and legs to the back of an armoured vehicle and slowly dragged him along the road while others beat him with batons. He was beaten again at the Ministry of Interior and given electric shocks. He received no medical treatment for a broken arm and was forced to squat with 13 other men for several hours. At Tora Prison, he was beaten with electric cables and verbally abused. Following a three-day hunger strike, he was released on 25 March.

Abdel Haleem Hnesh was arrested by military forces on 4 May at a protest in Abbaseya, Cairo. He said troops severely beat him with 2m-long sticks and electric batons, and then took him with some 40 others to military area S28 in Cairo. He was presented to military prosecutors, and then transferred to Tora Prison where he was beaten on arrival with hoses and sticks. He was released five days later


Protests in early 2012 were mainly against military rule. Following President Morsi’s election, demonstrations were held by his supporters and opponents. Security forces were largely absent, especially during large Tahrir Square protests, but in some instances they clashed with protesters. No reform of the police was initiated and the authorities employed tactics reminiscent of the Mubarak era, with security forces using excessive force against protesters. Riot police used excessive and unnecessary force, including firearms and US-made tear gas.

Security forces used lethal force without prior warning to disperse protesters, killing 16 protesters between 2 and 6 February in Cairo and Suez. The protests were in reaction to the killing of some 70 Al-Ahly football supporters by men in plain clothes during a match in Port Said, witnessed by security forces that did not prevent the violence.

Between 28 April and 4 May, at least 12 people were killed by men in plain clothes during a sit-in in Abbaseya Square, Cairo, in protest at the presidential election process. Security forces did not intervene, suggesting that the men acted at the army’s command or with their acquiescence.

On 20 November, teenage protester Gaber Salah Gaber was reportedly shot dead by security forces near the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo.


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[accessed 31 December 2018]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 24 January 2013]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Article 42 of the constitution prohibits the infliction of "physical or moral harm" upon persons who have been arrested or detained; however, torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees by police, security personnel, and prison guards remained common and persistent. According to the UN Committee Against Torture, a systematic pattern of torture by the security forces existed. Police torture resulted in deaths during the year (see section 1.a.).

Principal methods of torture reportedly employed by the police and the SSIS included stripping and blindfolding victims; suspending victims from a ceiling or doorframe with feet just touching the floor; beating victims with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; using electrical shocks; and dousing victims with cold water. Victims frequently reported being subjected to threats and forced to sign blank papers for use against themselves or their families should they in the future complain about the torture. Some victims, including male and female detainees and children, reported sexual assaults or threats of rape against themselves or family members. While the law requires security authorities to keep written records of detentions, human rights groups reported that the lack of such records often effectively blocked investigations.

On January 17, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Ahmed Saleh Darwish, of Cairo's Bab Al-Shareya police station, to five years in prison for torturing to death suspect Mohammad El-Husseiny Imam in 2001. According to a forensic report, Imam had died from electric shocks. Egypt's highest court, the Court of Cassation, had overturned an initial conviction of Darwish in May 2003 and ordered a retrial in September 2004.

On April 6, EOHR reported that the Nagada misdemeanors court, under article 129 of the penal code, sentenced Nouh Taha Ibrahim Muqlid, a police officer in charge of the Nagada police station's investigation unit, to one week's imprisonment for cruelty against detainee Mohammad Halaby Mohammad in April 2004.

On May 10, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced police officer Mohamed Mubarak Ali and assistant officers Zaghloul Hamed Higab and Ahmed Ibrahim Madany--all based at the Sayyeda Zeinab police station--to three years' imprisonment for intentional assault against Mahmoud Gabar Mohamed which led to his death in 2003. Originally charged under article 126 of the penal code with torturing a suspect to extract a confession, the defendants were convicted of deliberate fatal assault, receiving the minimum sentence under article 236 "for reasons of clemency."

Numerous cases of torture were documented. According to EOHR, there were 34 cases of torture in police stations reported during the year. In late January, Mohammed El-Sayed Salem reportedly suffered a fractured spine and was left unconscious and paralyzed after being repeatedly kicked while handcuffed at a police station in Zagazig, according to EOHR. Although a court ruled that Salem should be freed on bail, he was detained for three more days. He was finally freed and taken to a local hospital on January 27.

On April 18, according to reports given by family members to EOHR, Ahmed Mahmoud Salem, who had been detained at Kafr Saqr police station in Sharqiya governorate, died after being beaten, sexually assaulted, and tortured with electric shocks. EOHR urged the public prosecutor and the interior ministry to investigate.

On June 23, EOHR submitted a formal complaint calling for an investigation into the case of Abdel Gawad El-Aaw, who was arrested on June 15 by Waraq police station officers for possession of drugs and weapons. Family members who had talked to El-Aaw in detention told EOHR that he had suffered beatings, including to "sensitive parts" of his body, at the hands of four police officials.

According to an EOHR report on June 23, the NCHR (which includes a representative from EOHR) had received 74 complaints of torture and officially forwarded them to the minister of interior. The June 23 EOHR report noted that the ministry had not responded to any of the complaints.

In January 2004, the public prosecutor indicted police major Yasser Ibrahim El-Akkad, head of the criminal investigations unit at Haram Police Station in metropolitan Cairo, for torturing actress Habiba while investigating the 1999 killing of her husband. The case against El-Akkad, who claimed that Habiba willingly confessed, remained ongoing at year's end.

In March, six police officers were convicted of torturing to death Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim in 2002, and each was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment; the sentences were reduced to 7 years by an appeals court. In 2004, the Alexandria Criminal Court had twice postponed the case, before proceedings resumed in March. The Association for Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA) filed a civil suit on behalf of Ibrahim's family, seeking $1.6 million (LE 10 million) in compensation.

On June 23, EOHR reported it had documented 292 torture cases between 1993 and 2004, and 120 cases in which the victim concerned died as a result of suspected torture or mistreatment. In 2004 EOHR monitored 42 cases of torture and 23 deaths. As of June 23, EOHR reported it had monitored 27 cases of torture and 5 deaths during the year.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 24 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 12 May 2020]

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has reported that as many as 16,000 people are detained without charge for security-related offenses, and thousands have been convicted and are serving sentences. Conditions in Egyptian prisons are very poor; prisoners are subject to torture, overcrowding, abuse, and a lack of sanitation, hygiene, and medical care.

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study 1991

Library of Congress Call Number DT46 .E32 1991

[accessed 24 July 2017]

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT - THE PENAL SYSTEM – According to the 1988 report of the human rights organization Amnesty International, there were many allegations of torture and poor-treatment of detainees, particularly in parts of the Tora Prison complex. Torture was apparently inflicted to obtain confessions in 1987 after a series of assassination attempts against high officials. Egypt has refused to allow representatives from groups such as the Arab Human Rights Organization and the International Red Cross to inspect the country's prisons and meet with prisoners. Members of the People's Assembly who represented opposition parties were also refused access to the prisons. A report by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in early 1990 claimed that there was a marked increase in the use of torture in 1989, not only against members of subversive organizations but also against ordinary citizens with no political affiliations. Muhammad Abd al Halim Musa replaced Badr as minister of interior in January 1990. Badr had long been criticized for harsh repression of Islamic extremists and violations of civil liberties. Egyptian human rights activists hoped that his successor would adopt more moderate policies and improve the treatment of prisoners.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Egypt",, [accessed <date>]