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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Egypt torture centre, report says
Human rights campaigners in Egypt
Egyptian security forces are accused of routine and systematic abuse
Human rights group Amnesty International has released a highly critical report on Egypt's record on torture and illegal detention.

The issue was recently highlighted by the emergence of mobile phone film of policemen raping a man with a stick.

The report says Egypt has become an international centre for interrogation and torture on behalf of other states as part of the "war on terror".

There was no immediate reaction from the Egyptian government.

We are now uncovering evidence of Egypt being a destination of choice for third-party or contracted out torture in the 'war on terror'
Kate Allen
UK director of Amnesty International

Egyptian officials have in the past denied that torture is systematically practised in the country.

The AI report calls for other countries to abandon "no torture" deals with Egypt.

Under such deals governments, including the UK's, deport suspects to Cairo having been assured by Egyptian authorities that the suspect will not suffer torture.

"A 'no torture' deal with Egypt would not be worth the paper it was written on, and rather than bargain over illegal detention and torture the UK should unequivocally condemn torture in Egypt," UK director of AI, Kate Allen, said.

The report says that many violations occur within the context of domestic and international security operations.

In 2005, Egypt's prime minister acknowledged that since 2001 the USA had transferred some 60-70 detainees to Egypt as part of the "war on terror".

Detailed accounts

The report details the case of Abu Omar, an Egyptian resident in Italy who was allegedly kidnapped by CIA agents in Italy in 2003 and handed over to the Egyptian authorities.

Abu Omar was held without charge in Egyptian jails for nearly four years and in testimony given to an Italian prosecutor he has alleged that he was whipped, subjected to electric shocks and raped.

He was never successfully charged and was released in February 2007.

AI also highlights the case of Mamdouh Habib, an Australian national of Egyptian descent.

He alleges that he was detained and tortured in Pakistan in 2001, handed over to US officials and then flown on to Egypt.

There he was tortured, including in a "water cell" in which he had to stand on tiptoe for hours in order not to drown.

Under torture, Mr Habib says, he confessed to training the 11 September 2001 hijackers in martial arts.

He was later taken to Guantanamo Bay, from which he was finally released in January 2005. He was never charged.


The report calls on Egypt to ensure that the new anti-terrorism law complies fully with international human rights law and standards.

It calls on the government to publicly condemn torture and other ill-treatment, and ensure that all allegations of such abuses are promptly and independently investigated and the perpetrators tried.

It also urges Cairo to end incommunicado and administrative detention, and to make public the names of all alleged terrorist suspects who have been transferred to Egypt from the custody of other countries.

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