HRW accuses Egypt police of torturing detained children

Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian police of detaining and torturing 20 people, including children

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Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian police on Thursday of detaining and torturing 20 people, including eight children, saying there was a pattern of abuse in the North African country.

The New York-based group said in a report that six people arrested in the coastal city of Alexandria in February had reported to relatives that they were tortured with electric shocks and beatings.

They had been accused of protesting without a permit, vandalism and arson, and joining an illegal group.

A police official told AFP that the allegation in the report “was illogical and clearly fabricated.”

HRW said that police had initially refused to admit they were holding the detainees for more than a week.

When the detainees appeared in court a week later, police said in a report to the prosecutor they had just been arrested.

“Some Egyptian officials have disappeared children and apparently tortured them, then faked arrest records to cover it up,” the report quoted HRW’s children’s rights director Zama Coursen-Neff as saying.

“The authorities have turned a blind eye to the reports of abuse and refused to investigate.”

It said six of the detainees told relatives they were suspended by their arms, electrocuted in the genitals and punched.

They had been arrested after an alleged arson attack on a police vehicle and a garage.

“The arrests fit a wider pattern of abuse and violations by officers of the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency,” the report said.

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