12 November 2007
Jailed blogger tortured after uncovering case of corruption inside prison
(HRinfo/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights information and Hisham Mubarak Centre for Law has sent a communiqué to the Egyptian Prosecutor-General, demanding that he investigate the torture of Karim Amer. Karim, an Egyptian blogger sentenced to prison for four years for "vilifying religions" and "defaming" the president, was tortured on the order and under the supervision of an investigation officer in Borg Alarab prison. Karim was also ordered into a solitary cell, where he was assaulted again and had one of his teeth broken. This incident came on the day marking one year since Karim was sent to jail.
Karim reported his torture to his lawyers in the Arabic Network and Hisham Mubarak Center. The torture was perpetrated by another prisoner and a prison guard on the order of Midhat Samir, one of the prison's investigation officers. This assault resulted from Karim uncovering an act of corruption in the prison. He was prevented from officially reporting the incident and denied the right to document his injuries in a medical report. The Arabic Network for Human Rights information and Hisham Mubarak Centre for Law mentioned in their communiqué to the Prosecutor-General that the assault on Karim involved the following details:
- He was beaten in ward number 22, where he was imprisoned at the time of the assault. The beating was launched by another prisoner and a prison guard in the presence and under the supervision of officer Midhat Samir. Samir also gave the green light for the assault, which resulted in a broken "upper right canine tooth" along with a number of bruises and abrasions to various parts of the body.
- He was transferred to a disciplinary cell, where he was handcuffed and had his feet put in shackles. He was beaten again, causing more injuries.
- Another inmate was brought to the scene, where they stripped him out of his clothes and beat him severely in front of prisoner Kareem Soliman as they also threatened to inflict upon him the same punishment, if he didn't mind his own business.
Both organisations, the Arabic Network and Hisham Mubarak Centre for Law, have called for an immediate investigation into Karim Amer's complaint in accordance with Articles 126,127 and 129 of the Criminal Code, according to which the case fits the specifications of a torture crime. In addition, if these allegations prove to be true, they would represent an infringement of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations anti-torture treaty and other treaties on mistreatment, cruel punishment and non-humanitarian or degrading treatment, which Egypt has signed on and ratified.
Since he was imprisoned, Karim has been subjected to systemic discrimination and mistreatment by Borg Alarb prison's officers. He told his lawyer that the mistreatment is always coupled with the phrase, "This is until you change your mind!" This represents a threat to his life and compounds the difficulty of the already harsh sentence. The two organisations are calling for his transfer to another prison, where he can receive more humanitarian treatment and where his rights as a prisoner will be respected.