When Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, ousted after the Arab Spring uprising of February 2011, was eventually detained in the notorious Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo – where his own enemies had been held during his rule - it must have seemed to like the perfect just deserts for the man branded a dictator by his people.
Now, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA, top-level members of the elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government, which put Mubarak there, have also been taken to Tora this morning, having been arrested following a military coup last night.
Egypt’s former President, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, is believed to be kept under house arrest by military-led authorities, after he was forced to step down last night.
Saad El-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and former speaker of parliament, and Rashad al-Bayoumi, one of the Brotherhood's deputy leaders, were arrested early this morning and reportedly taken to the maximum-security jail where Mubarak is being held during his trial on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ousted him. Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also detained in Tora, and are facing separate corruption charges.
Human rights groups have long decried conditions at Tora, a complex of five prisons around 14 miles south of Cairo, and have continued to highlight abuses there during Morsi’s rule.
“One NGO recorded 88 cases of torture or other ill-treatment by police during President Morsi’s first 100 days in power,” reads Amnesty International’s 2013 report on Egypt. “Protesters arrested by riot police or the military were subjected to severe beatings and electric shocks in custody, including in Tora Prison, south of Cairo, where detainees also suffered overcrowding, inadequate clothing and lack of medical care.”
One protester, Abdel Haleem Hnesh, told Amnesty he was arrested by military forces on 4 May at a protest in Abbaseya, Cairo. “He said troops severely beat him with 2m-long sticks and electric batons, and then took him with some 40 others to military area S28 in Cairo,” says the report. “He was presented to military prosecutors, and then transferred to Tora Prison where he was beaten on arrival with hoses and sticks. He was released five days later.”
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