الأحد، سبتمبر 10، 2006

The Murder of Egyptian Dignity

This is a time when awareness of human rights is probably at its highest. We have organizations all over the world that speak for the oppressed, seek news on abuses, demand justice and spread the awareness of what we are entitled to.

As one of those fortunate enough to live in a true democracy, I and no doubt most of those around me are well aware of what we are entitled to. We have certain expectations that we are protected by the law as long as we abide by it. When we see a policeman or woman we do believe they are here “To serve and Protect” us. We know we have the right to feel safe in our communities…we have the right to enjoy our lives because we are good, free citizens who contribute to our societies.

We are entitled to our dignity!

Amgad Mokhtar Hussein, a young Egyptian Muslim man, was to find out that as an Egyptian he had no right to such expectations. His story is stranger than fiction…or so it seemed to one accustomed to living in a society where rule of law is respected. In fact, hearing him tell what happened to him made me absolutely sick with horror and despair. (He was interviewed by Amr Adeeb on the popular program Al Qahira Alyaoum, or Cairo Today)

Amgad and his wife are American University graduates, and he works for a cinema production company…he has practically no active involvement in any political movement.

Amgad, his wife and a friend were traveling by bus to Al Qusseir (a town on the coast of the red sea). The bus was stopped by the police for an ID check…a regular occurrence on Egyptian roads and highways, particularly after the recent attacks on Sharm Al Sheikh. One of the policemen asked Amgad if he had a work permit. Amgad replied that he is going to Al Qusseir for holidays and does not intend on working there. The policeman oddly repeated the question several times, apparently not satisfied by Amgad’s answers. Then he asked Amgad to get off the bus.

What ensued is a series of events that involve acts of torture to rival some of those we read about in Abu Ghreib in Iraq. Amgad was taken into an office and beaten severely by a mob of lower ranking officers. When Amr Adeeb asked him what he did while they were beating him, Amgad simply said “Initially I was trying to block the blows…but after a while, I was overwhelmed especially that I didn’t know why this was happening”

Throughout the ordeal, the first officer dished out insults to the victim. If you’re thinking he was just swearing at him, think again! He made Amgad say those things aloud about himself threatening to beat him if he doesn’t comply…then beat him anyway each time he said them.

At one stage, he made the other officers strip Amgad off his pants and cuff his hands to a desk. Then they proceeded to pull out Amgad’s pubic hair.

Amgad was then made to lie on his stomach and crawl on his bare stomach and groin along the room. There was reference in Amgad’s account to the officer calling to the others to bring “a fake ###” along with references to raping Amgad. Amgad said the officer said to him “I’ll show you. You know I’m really into women and I prefer men” clearly threatening him with rape. Then asked Amgad to kiss his shoes and the shoes of all the others present.

Meanwhile, and mercifully unaware of the horrors her husband is experiencing, Amgad’s wife was pacing outside the very building waiting for him and making some calls to her family. You see this couple is from well off and well connected families. When Amgad heard his wife’s voice while alone in his torture room, he understood she must be just outside the room and that she would also hear him if he yelled out loud enough. So he did…he yelled out that he was being tortured.

It’s obvious that the family connections served Amgad then. It seems that the officer involved also started to understand just how much trouble he’d got himself into. Because another officer came into the room, gave Amgad his clothes and told him to put them on. Amgad was also offered some tea!!!!!

Of course, and again due to Amgad’s family’s prominence, this officer has been suspended and an investigation is currently underway.

But it’s bigger than just this. This isn’t about one incident…this is about abuse of power and corruption. It’s about the average Egyptian who has no rich father or family connections…who is speaking on his behalf?????????????? Who’s making him/her feel safe in their own country??????

I sincerely thank the Lord for Amgad’s safety, and I applaud his courage in coming forward and speaking up so that justice can take its course, and the guilty is punshed. Maybe, just maybe, it will deter any other lowlife from repeating these atrocities.

Time and time again we see that those responsible for protecting Egyptians and upholding the law are the first to trample the law. When will it stop? When are we going to have a real and a free judiciary system?

Egyptian dignity is being murdered over and over again…is there even any hope left that we will one day revive it?

***

Some references (sorry all in Arabic)

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9 Comments:

Blogger شهرزاد Shahrazad said...

Oh my God, that's digusting. and these weren't even political activists....

سبتمبر 16, 2006  
Blogger CMinor said...

Wow, Bent,
You seem to have silenced everyone.

A shocking situation.

سبتمبر 17, 2006  
Blogger CMinor said...

You okay there, Bent?

سبتمبر 22, 2006  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

hi all
thanx for passing by.

cminor
am ok...just really snowed under. thanks so much for thinking of me...u r so sweet :)

back with more very shortly

سبتمبر 23, 2006  
Blogger CMinor said...

Glad you're well; I was beginning to worry you were under the weather again.

For what it's worth, I have begun to attempt to answer Mohamed's comments to me from your previous post. Should anyone be interested, it is linked here.

سبتمبر 25, 2006  
Blogger CMinor said...

BTW, I came across an item today that may be of general interest:

Egypt, Freedom House reports, "has done little to protect Egypt's ancient Christian community, by far the largest religious minority in the Middle East, and sometimes attacks them itself. No one was punished for the massacre of 21 Copts in the village of El-Kosheh four years ago. On March 23, the Coptic pope, Shenouda III, publicly condemned the escalating forced conversion of Christian girls, a major step since it is arguably illegal for him to criticize the government and he has previously been under house arrest for three years for doing so. In November 2003, security officials arrested 21 converts to Christianity, tortured several of them, and one died in custody."

I found this at Captain's Quarters; am planning to go to the Freedom House site and read the full report when time allows.

سبتمبر 26, 2006  
Blogger Marcguyver said...

You know, thugs and bullies, from any country, get away with these kinds of things because no one stops them.
Admittedly some our helpless and unable to defend themselves. Others refuse to do so simply out of fear. I for one am willing to remain being a 'sheep-dog'. The 'wolves' look for easy prey amongst the 'sheep' of our society; we need 'sheep-dogs' who are just as ferocious as the 'wolves' to stop them.

أكتوبر 03, 2006  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Hey Cminor
Thanks for the info. You know as I read it i was struck by how "normal" i felt about it...u know because it happens so much.

I'm better...just hit a low point for a while but hey, we all have our rough patches and we get through it by the grace of God.

Marcguyver
good to see u as always :)

off to visit you now cminor :)

أكتوبر 06, 2006  
Blogger Egypeter said...

Bent el Neel - Come back. We miss your insightful posts. And there are many things going on that need attention :)

I assume you heard about the false imprisonments of the Sheikh and Kareem Amer, right?

http://www.freekareem.org/

and

http://www.persecution.org/suffering/newsdetail.php?newscode=3772&PHPSESSID=40479e47e5d2e3246e152450004727b8

Hope you are well! God bless!

نوفمبر 08, 2006  

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