Amnesty urges Egypt to free Islamists held without charge

Amnesty International urged Egypt to free the founder of an association that taught children the Koran the rights group said.

Amnesty urges Egypt to free Islamists held without charge

Amnesty International on Thursday urged Egypt to free the founder of an association that taught children the Koran and who the rights group said had been held without charge since 2007, beaten and denied medical attention.

Mohammed Farid Farrag, 38, was arrested in November 2007 in Qalyoubiya north of Cairo, the human rights group said.

It said Farrag has started a hunger strike to protest his treatment, but did not give details.

"He has never been under investigation or charged and the Egyptian Ministry of Interior has ignored seven orders by the courts to release him," Amnesty said in a statement.

Egypt's government has long been wary of Islamist groups or individuals. It crushed an Islamist uprising in the 1990s.

Interior Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. Officials routinely deny charges of torture.

Egypt has an emergency law in force since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 that allows indefinite detention and trials in military courts. Rights groups and Western states have said it should be lifted.

This month, the United States and several European countries urged Egypt to ensure civil liberties and lift the emergency law before parliamentary elections later this year and a presidential poll in 2011.

Farrag's family filed a complaint with the public prosecutor on his behalf on the same day Egypt submitted a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council denying that torture was widespread, Egyptian human rights activist Hossam Bahgat said.

Egypt had strict punishments for any public employee involved in torture, Egypt said in its report submitted for the UN's Universal Permanent Review (UPR).

A group of 16 Egyptian rights groups said in a joint report late last year that about 12,000 to 14,000 people, some detained for 15 years, are being held without charge or trial even though many have been granted release orders.

Reuters

Last Mod: 26 Şubat 2010, 08:15
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