Egyptian dissenters forcibly disappeared and tortured, Amnesty says

Hundreds of Egyptians, including students and children, have disappeared and been tortured under the guise of counterterrorism, according to an Amnesty International report released Wednesday.

“An average of three to four people are abducted and arbitrarily subjected to enforced disappearance each day,” according to the report, which is based on the testimony of 17 victims of human rights violations.

Amnesty International’s findings indicate that many are being held on the National Security Agency premises in Cairo, not far from Tahrir Square, the focal point of anti-government protests during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

The National Security Agency was formed in 2011 to replace the secret police force responsible for many human rights violations under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Amnesty International alleges that at the agency, police stations and other security facilities, victims who have been unlawfully detained are interrogated, forced to videotape criminal confessions, tried before military court and tortured. Torture methods include electric shocks, prolonged suspension by the limbs, as well as sexual abuse, the group claims.

Many of the people who have disappeared are leaders and senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood, the supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, who was removed from office in 2013.

The Egyptian government denies allegations of human rights violations and has specifically accused Amnesty International of propagating rumors.

In March, Maj. Gen. Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, Egypt’s interior minister, said in a statement that there is no enforced disappearance in Egypt. Amnesty International links the rise in disappearances to Ghaffar’s appointment in March 2015.

Beyond the allegations of disappeared activists, thousands of Egyptians remain detained without trial. In January, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi dedicated 103 acres to the construction of 16 new prison facilities.