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HRW Draws Attention to Torture, Disappearance of Children in Egypt

FILE - Mourners hold a march during the funeral of of Mohamed Ali, a 23- year-old driver, who was shot dead overnight during a dispute with a police sergeant, during his funeral in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 19, 2016.

A rights group says Egyptian security forces tortured a group of 20 people, eight of them children.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday that the torture happed in February after the subjects were arrested in the city of Alexandria.

According to the information gathered by HRW from relatives and lawyers, authorities used torture to force people to confess to crimes or give the names of other suspects.

The rights organization said Egyptian authorities also refused to acknowledge holding them or disclose their whereabouts for more than a week.

Three boys, 16 and 17-years-old, and three men, 18 to 21 years old, were detained during the raid for allegedly demonstrating without permission, committing vandalism and arson, and joining a banned organization, HRW said.

“Some Egyptian officials have disappeared children and apparently tortured them, then faked arrest records to cover it up,” said Zama Coursen-Neff, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, adding that “the authorities have turned a blind eye to the reports of abuse and refused to investigate.”

Rights groups have repeatedly accused Egypt's security services of carrying out illegal detentions, forced disappearances of people, including children, and torture of detainees and called on the country to stop such practices.