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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Egypt rejects torture criticism
Human rights campaigners in Egypt
Egypt denies that its security forces use torture routinely
Egypt has rejected a report by human rights group Amnesty International that accused it of the systematic torture of prisoners.

The foreign ministry said Cairo was offended by the report which was inaccurate and unfair.

The report said torture was pervasive in police stations and prisons.

It also said Egypt has become an international centre for interrogation and torture on behalf of other states as part of the "war on terror".

The foreign ministry statement said Egypt had made "real and continuous achievements in the field of human rights".

It pointed to the establishment of the National Council of Human Rights, a state-appointed body chaired by former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali.

'War on terror'

Amnesty's report, released on Wednesday, said 18,000 people were in Egyptian jails without trial, some for more than a decade.

The 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.

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 US had transferred some 60-70 detainees to Egypt as part of the "war on terror".

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