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Egyptian State Security Accused of Torturing Christian Youth

By Mary Abdelmassih

2/23/2010 Egypt (AINA) — Egyptian State Security has been accused by lawyers, rights activists and victims’ families of torturing the Christian youths arrested in the aftermath of the Christmas Eve shootings of Copts on January 6, 2010. The shooting in the southern town of Nag Hammadi resulted in the death of six and the injury of nine Christians (AINA 1-7-2010).

Two days after the shootings, nearly 100 Coptic teenagers as young as 15 were arrested randomly without warrants from the streets and their homes in Nag Hammadi and the neighboring villages (AINA 1-13-2010).

The arrests were intensified after Anba Kyrollos, Coptic Bishop of Nag Hammadi, heavily criticized the role of the security forces in the massacre, and the demonstrations that took place in Nag Hammadi by the angry Copts against the security forces. Gen. Mahmoud Gohar, Security Director Qena, explicitly threatened Copts and said that he will deal firmly and strongly with any protests.

The arrested youngsters were tortured and released without charges after nearly one week, except for 15 who were charged with “rioting and resisting the authorities” on January 24, and sent to detention camps; 13 went to the New Valley Camp, 700 km south of Cairo and 2 went to Alexandria. It is not known how they are being treated there. “When we visit them, there is always supervision,” said one relative.

Those that were released confirmed that they were beaten and subjected to electrocution. They were asked by security forces to falsely testify against Bishop Kyrollos that he incited them to make demonstrations.

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