Egypt – Evidence of torture and repression by Mubarak’s Police

Posted on 28/01/2011 by


Via WikiLeaks.
By María Luisa Rivera, Wikileaks, 28 January 2011, 15.00 GMT. Original article here.

Many well-known activists including Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate, have been arrested in their homes, civilians have been wounded and even killed in clashes with Egyptian police and security forces.   As an Internet blackout imposed by the state covers the country, every citizen and grassroots organization will now be exposed to arbitrary police forces. As secret documents from US prove, during the demonstrations today, authorities might use physical threats, legal threats and extraordinary laws such the Emergency Law as an excuse to persecute and prosecute activists during the pacific demonstrations taking place in Cairo and other cities.

As described by Cable 10CAIRO64 sent from the Embassy of Cairo on 12January, 2010, “Egypt’s State of Emergency, in effect almost continuously since 1967, allows for the application of the 1958 Emergency Law, which grants the GOE broad powers to arrest individuals without charge and to detain them indefinitely”. The cable also describes how “The GOE has also used the Emergency Law in some recent cases to target bloggers and labor demonstrators”.

Excessive use of force by police during the protests led to arbitrary executions and detentions in a vast array of abuses, a situation that is known and acknowledged in the past by U.S. diplomats based in Egypt. It is important to bear in mind the long record of police abuse and torture by Egyptian police forces.

In the aftermath of protest started on Monday January 25th, many citizens, including activists and Journalists were attacked. People were detained, brutally wounded and even killed as a result of excessive use of force by Police, a situation that is known and acknowledged in the past by U.S. diplomats based in Egypt.

In a Cable sent from Cairo Embassy on 2009, Cable 09CAIRO79 the reality of the police force is described: “Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread.  The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators.” It was 2009 when the Government of the United States of America acknowledged the lack of concrete actions of the Egyptian government to improve the situation of police in Egypt. This same document points out how bloggers described the severe torture with electric shocks inflicted on a blogger, and how security forces stopped the torture when he began cooperating.

The suppression of dissent and collective action for change goes beyond direct use of force; it includes using legal threats to prosecute even the most harmless forms of dissent, including poetry: “A recent series of selective GOE actions against journalists, bloggers and even an amateur poet illustrates the variety of methods available to the GOE to suppress critical opinion, including an array of investigative authorities and public and private legal actions.”

As recently as February 2010, as indicated in 10CAIRO213, an activist implored the United States diplomats to get closer to the Egyptian government in order to combat torture and reduce the growing brutality of the police. The answer from Vice President Biden is that the political leader, the highest authority in the country, is not a dictator. The answer from the U.S. is silence, and dismissal of the Egyptian people´s desire to create a better future.