- Middle East/North Africa
Several children and young men have reported that they were physically and sexually abused by police officers and Central Security Forces while in detention at CSF camps.
The children gave their testimonies during a press conference, “A homeland without torture,” held on Thursday at the Center for Rights in Medicine. They said that the abuse occurred after they had been caught up in random group arrests, despite not being involved in nearby violent clashes.
Zeyad Tayseer, a 12 year-old sixth-grader, said he was arrested on Qasr al-Nil Bridge when returning home from the Ahly Al-Jazeera Club. He said the police officers who arrested him beat him, accusing him of being one of the rioters who attacked Semiramis Hotel.
Tayseer said he denied the accusations, but was dragged by his hair to an armored vehicle. He testified that the arresting officer then him handed him over to a lieutenant, who threatened the boy with a dagger, saying, "I will slaughter you if you do not say who paid you to demonstrate and sabotage."
Tayseer said he saw other children who were beaten to confess. One of them confessed to accepting LE10 during the abuse, the victim claimed.
The lieutenant forced children to take off their clothes, beat them and sexually abused them, Tayseer alleged.
After dinner, the victim said the children were taken to a prisoner transport truck near the US Embassy in Cairo, and then driven to the Tora CSF camp. There were 300 other children in the camp, Tayseer said, some of them as young as seven years old. They were accused of pelting rocks at security forces, belonging to Black Bloc demonstration group, stealing from the Semiramis Hotel and destroying cars. A colonel was asked to bring medications to an injured detainee, but he allegedly refused, saying that was not his responsibility.
Tayseer said that the detainees went to the prosecution the next day, and he was released with another boy. He added they passed back to the Tora camp, then were taken to the Qasr al-Nil Police Station before they could return home.
While in prison, food was given to them in buckets, the boy asserted. The meals consisted of white beans and rice, and when the children asked for water, the soldiers would tell them to wait.
Khaled Meqdad, 20, an April 6 Youth Movement member, was arrested in May 2012 during the Saudi Embassy clashes. Meqdad said he remained in an Armed Forces’ prison for six months, where he was abused by both the police and soldiers. He was imprisoned there with a Brotherhood member, who was released after President Mohamed Morsy came to power, the youth alleged.
Meqdad was arrested again in recent clashes before being transferred to Wadi al-Natroun Prison, and later to Aqrab and Tora prisons. Meqdad claimed he was beaten and tortured in prison.
Following his release he tried to press charges against his abusers with the general prosecutor, Meqdad said, but police officers told him that it would come to nothing.