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Death row politician accuses senior officials of torturing him to drop lawsuit against Sisi


August 11, 2016
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Mohamed al-Beltagy, a former MP on death row in Egypt, accused senior officials at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of torturing him to force him to drop a lawsuit he had filed against General Sisi for killing his daughter.

At a court session on Wednesday, Beltagy delivered a speech in which he requested investigation into “repeated physical and psychological torture.”

Beltagy is a former MP and member of the National Council on Human Rights in the Morsi era. He is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Wednesday’s trial is one of several trials Beltagy has been facing since the July 3 military coup against Egypt’s first freely elected President, Mohamed Morsi. He was arrested on August 29, 2013, and is currently facing the death penalty and more than 100 years of prison sentences.

Beltagy’s 17-year-old daughter, Asmaa, was shot dead by police snipers in the Rabaa Massacre on August 14, 2013. Beltagy filed a lawsuit against General Sisi, the coup leader, for being directly responsible for the killing of his daughter who was peacefully protesting against his coup.

Human Rights Watch has described the Rabaa Masacre as “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history”. Beltagy’s daughter, Asmaa, has since become an icon for the anti-coup movement.

Ironically, Beltagy is standing trial, along with 738 others, for involvement in violence on the day of the Rabaa Massacre.

Beltagy accused two senior MOI officials, Assistant Minister of Interior Hassam al-Sohagy and the Director of Prison Authority General Mohamed Ali, of overseeing his torture.

“They summoned me from my cell, handcuffed, and humiliated and insulted me with the most obscene language,” he told the judges on Wednesday. “They forced me to remove my prison uniform and photographed me only with my underwear.” Beltagy explained that the humiliating treatment was aimed at pressuring him to withdraw his lawsuit against Sisi.

The judges said they would launch an investigation into his claims.

The trial was adjourned to September 6, pending investigations into Beltagy’s claims, and other defendants’ claims that they had been denied medical care.

 

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