Egyptian Security Forces Invent Bogus Terrorist Cells to Serve Their Political Agenda

eagyptArab Organisation for Human Rights in UK (AOHR UK) received a number of complaints from the families of students forcefully disappeared by security forces. Shortly after their disappearance, their families were shocked to see them on state-owned and pro-coup television channels confessing to crimes that could carry the death sentence. The families later learned, through their lawyers, that the detainees had been brutally tortured to extract these confessions.

Abdulrahman, whose brother  24-year old university student Ibrahim Yihia Abdulfatah Aazab is one of the detainees who appeared on television, said that  Ibrahim had received a phone call from his friend Abdullah Muhsin Al-Amiri on the 6th of March 2014 requesting that Ibrahim come over to a property in Mansoura and bring with him a certain medication. Abdullah explained it was for a sick child. Ibrahim headed to the property and disappeared. The family later found out that Abdullah was arrested on the 5th of March 2014 and, thus,  was unable to provide them with any information about Ibrahim’s whereabouts until he made a sudden appearance on television on the 8th of March 2014. In the video, Abdullah, Ibrahim and several others ‘confessed’ to being among the protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square,  to protecting Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations, of being in possession of firearms for the purpose of using them against security forces, thugs and for assassinating police officers, and of planting bombs in residential areas.

Ibrahim’s family retained a lawyer to look for him. The lawyer was able to find out that Ibrahim had been abducted by security forces the moment he arrived at the rendezvous point . Ibrahim told the lawyer that he was initially taken to the Mansoura Second Precinct and then to Mansoura security directorate where he was tortured, electrocuted and burnt with cigarettes. Ibrahim confessed to crimes he did not commit to save himself from further torture. Once the film had been made, he was transferred to Al-Aqrab prison in Cairo. The media picked on the film and began circulating it as evidence of the crimes of Mansoura Terrorist Cell.

The families of the detainees Ahmed Mohsen Al-Amiri, 30, Abdullah Mohsen Al-Amiri, 27, Mohammed Mohsen Al-Amiri, 23 and his brother-in-law Mohammed Mohammed Idris, 19, told AOHR UK that security forces from Mansoura Second Precinct raided the building where the family resides on 5 March 2014 at 9 pm. They headed to Abdullah’s apartment on the second floor and arrested him along with his mother before heading to the fourth floor where Mohammed Mohsen lives and arrested him along with his brother-in-law who was visiting. All four were taken to the Mansoura Second Precinct. When Mr. Mohsen Al-Amiri  learned of the arrests, he headed to the precinct with his eldest son Ahmed. The police arrested them as well. Both parents were released the following day. The rest of the family was taken to Mansoura Security Directorate and tortured to force them to confess to being members in the Muslim Brotherhood movement and to committing terrorist acts.

The father of Mohammed Mohammed Hafez Ali, 30, said in a statement to AOHR UK that he received a phone call at 7pm on the 5th of March 2014 from one of his son’s friends to inform him that Mohammed had been arrested and taken to Mansoura First Precinct. The police station denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. It was only when he saw his son on television confessing to crimes that he was finally able to find him. A lawyer succeeded in meeting with Mohammed on the 8th of March and he told him that he was taken to Mansoura police station where he was tortured and electrocuted to force him to record false confessions dictated by police officers. The prosecutor-general ordered he be remanded in custody for 15 days. And despite the prosecutor-general’s claims that Mohammed was being held at Al-Aqrab his father has not been able to verify that since the prison administration has not allowed him to visit his son nor see his lawyer except at the court.

In a testimony to AOHR UK, the father of the political detainee Mahmoud Mamdouh Wahbeh Abu-Zeid, 21, a student at the Faculty of engineering, revealed that he had received a phone call on the evening of Thursday the 6th of March 2014 from Mansoura Second Precinct informing him that his son had been arrested. Upon arrival at the police station, colonel Faiq Al-Zaki assured him that his son was arrested as a precautionary measure and was not being charged with anything. They refused to allow him to see his son. The following day Mahmoud’s father learnt that he had been taken to Al-Mustakbal prison in Al-Ismalilia so he headed there but could not find him.

The father returned to Mansoura Second Precinct and they gave him the name of another prison. Once again Mahmoud was not being held there. On the 12th of March 2014, a video was shown on Egyptian channels of Mahmoud and two other detainees (Ahmed Al-Waleed and Khalid Askar) confessing to the possession of firearms and the pre-medicated murder of a police officer. Mahmoud’s left cheek was swollen, an injury that this father, a dentist, attributed to blunt trauma with a sharp instrument to the lower part of the jaw. Mahmoud’s father concluded that his son had been tortured to extract these confessions. The video was the last time his father had seen him and he has no knowledge of his whereabouts. The only information the family was able to obtain is that Mahmoud would appear before the prosecutor-general on Saturday the 15th of March 2014 but he was not brought in on that day. According to the lawyer, only Ahmed Al-Waleed appeared before the prosecutor-general on Thursday the 13th of March 2014.

The lawyer confirmed that Ahmed, Khalid and Mahmoud had been tortured to force them to agree to film those confessions. The video has been circulated by the media under the title of Mansoura Terrorist cell.

The family of the detainee Abdulrahman Bayoomi, a pharmacology student at Mansoura University, revealed that Abdulrahman was on his way to perform Umra on the 6th of  February 2014 when he was detained and arrested at Cairo airport. Abdulrahman was escorted to the Homeland office at the airport and then taken to Madinat Nasr police station where all contact with him was lost. The police station refused to release any information to his family and threatened them with arrest if they insisted on enquiring about their son. On the 18th of February 2014, his family received a phone call from someone telling them that Abdulrahman was being held at Al-Aqrab prison and was due to appear before the Higher Prosecutor-General on the 20 of February.  The family were not allowed to see him that day so they went to Al-Aqrab prison the following day and managed to see him from behind a glass partition. His family learned that he was kept at Nasr City state security headquarters for three days and tortured and electrocuted before being forced to sign a statement (no. 457 for the year 2014)  while he was blindfolded.  He was charged with belonging to the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood movements and of carrying out terrorist operations in Egypt. This was the same case in which Amer Sa’d, who appeared on television on the7th of December 2013, was charged. Amer ‘confessed’ on television to the crimes of murder and attempted murder.

Arab Organisation for Human Rights in UK (AOHR UK) confirms that Mansoura security directorate has deliberately fabricated bogus charges against those mentioned above and then imprisoned them without revealing their whereabouts in order to torture and force them to make public confessions that could be used against them in a court of law. Some of those crimes they were forced to confess carry the death sentence. The confessions were filmed and broadcast on state-owned and pro-government channels in order to tarnish the image and reputation of those opposed to the Egyptian government.

AOHR UK stresses that the actions of the security forces in Mansoura amount to systematic forced disappearance, illegal detention, torture,  forgery of legal documents and slander. Forced disappearance and torture constitute a glaring violation of international laws which guarantee one’s right to life, liberty and security and protection from torture and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment.

AOHR UK also stresses that filming detainees in this humiliating manner and extracting false confessions under torture are illegal and immoral acts. Broadcasting confessions is tantamount to convicting them beforehand without recourse to due process and the rule of the law. It is also a clear attempt to turn public opinion against those detainees. It is evident that all legal and ethical value systems have collapsed in Egypt.

AOHR UK the UN secretary-general to form a fully-authorised fact-finding mission to investigate the crimes committed after the 3rd of July and hold all perpetrators accountable especially in view of the total disregard for human rights displayed by Egyptian authorities.

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