Imprisoned Journalist Beaten In Prison For Conversion To Christianity

ICC Note: An Egyptian convert to Christianity continues to be held in prison on investigation of charges of blasphemy related to converting to Christianity. He has already been held past the legal 6 month investigation period and while in prison has been subject to physical and verbal abuse. His lawyer has filed formal complaints but no actions have been taken and he continues to be abused for his conversion to Christianity.

05/13/2015 Egypt (Egypt Daily News) A journalist imprisoned on charges relating to his conversion to Christianity over seven years ago is being mistreated by prison officials and fellow-inmates, his lawyer told Daily News Egypt Wednesday.

Beshoy Armia, previously Mohamed Hegazy, is currently being held in the high-security Tora Prison on blasphemy charges, despite his case having yet to reach court.

Lawyer Karam Ghobrial said that whilst in prison, his client has been severely physically beaten and subject to verbal abuse, some of which is directed at his faith and conversion to Christianity. Armia has been denied a Bible and has not had glasses since they were broken intentionally some time ago.

Beating and torture is widespread in Egyptian prisons. In April alone, the El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence found that 10 people died in detention facilities, some from torture and others from inadequate healthcare. There have also been 68 case recorded of torture in State Security offices.

Ghobrial has now submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor General regarding the status and mistreatment of his client. A copy of the document, seen by Daily News Egypt, states that Armia has been held without legal basis, beyond the maximum six months allocated for detention in extreme cases.

The document holds that pre-trial detention should be used when there is a fear that the accused will escape or commit further crimes. The detainee should be treated with dignity and not tortured, which violates the constitution.

In addition to Armia’s release, the document also calls for the investigation of police officer Ahmed Fawzy at Tora Prison, who has been identified as responsible for the majority of abuse against Armia.

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