Hundreds of Egyptians “forcibly disappeared”

Jul 13, 2016, 12:46 AM EDT
Army facing off protesters
(Source: Alisdare Hickson/flickr)

According to a report by Amnesty International, Egypt’s security services forcibly disappeared hundreds of people, including students, activists and protesters, to intimidate opponents and quell peaceful dissent in the past year. The London-based human rights group accused Egypt of using enforced disappearances as “a key instrument of state policy,” saying that the country’s security forces and judicial authorities colluded to run a sinister campaign against Islamic and secular dissidents.

The report says that the security forces led by the National Security Agency (N.S.A.) seized on average three to four people every day and held them for months at a time, keeping them blindfolded and handcuffed for the entire period, writes the BBC.

Amnesty’s report documented the cases of 17 people, who were abducted and tortured for months, without any access to their families or lawyers. The rights watchdog also mentioned the case of the Italian Giulio Regeni, the Cambridge University student, who was found dead on the outskirts of Cairo in February, with his body bearing the signs of similar torture as faced by other Egyptians in custody.

Egypt’s Interior Minister Magdy Abdul Ghaffar denied the accusations of abductions and torture, saying that the country’s security agencies function within a framework established by Egyptian law.

A majority of those “disappeared” are supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected head of state, who was ousted from power and jailed after President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi overthrew his government with the help of military in 2013, reports The Guardian