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Egyptian Human Rights Group Campaigns Against Torture - 2001-08-20

A human rights group in Egypt is launching a campaign to end what it says is a common practice in the country: torture by police. The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid, one of Egypt's main civil and human rights groups says, "Torture in police stations is still widely practiced." The group says it wants to stop what it calls, quote, "a normal practice and daily phenomenon in Egyptian police dealings with citizens."

Rabie Wahba is with the group. He told VOA about the methods of torture allegedly used the police. "Beatings. Sometimes burning. There are many kinds of beatings with cudgels and other tools," he said.

For years, international rights groups have charged that Egyptian police use a wide range of techniques to extract information or to simply punish those they arrest. They have accused police of everything from beatings and the use of electric shocks to sexual abuse.

The center says the use of torture, in part, is tied to emergency laws that went into effect in 1981, following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat by a Muslim militant. The human rights group says the use of torture can only be eradicated by increasing awareness among Egypt's people and its leaders.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry told VOA it would have no comment on the allegations being raised by the human rights group.