Almost 500 people died at the hands of Egypt’s security forces and over 600 people were tortured while in detention in 2015, the Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence reported on Sunday.
These grim numbers show that the state uses a policy of repression as a tool of governance. Al-Nadeem wrote in an accompanying statement.
The statistics were compiled solely through media reports gathered throughout 2015, it stated, adding that the numbers did not reflect cases brought to the Nadeem center.
According to the report, 328 people were killed last year by members of the security services outside of detention centers, 137 were killed while in detention, and nine were killed in other ways.
The report showed 640 cases of individual torture, 36 cases of mass torture and 26 cases of general misconduct toward detainees.
Nadeem also reported that 358 detainees suffered from medical negligence.
The center stated that mapping the detention centers where torture occurred results in a map of Egypt, as torture was perpetrated throughout the country.
This contrasts with the line repeatedly taken by the Interior Ministry that instances of violence and torture in detention centers are individual cases and do not represent systemic practices by the ministry.
“We cannot talk about individual cases given the amount of murder, torture and disregard for human life — this year is unmatched in terms of violations, with the exception of the mass killings in 2013,” stated the report, referring to the violent dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in that year, which resulted in over 1000 deaths at the hands of the security forces.
Torture cases triggered demonstrations of public anger against the Interior Ministry multiple times in 2015. In November, thousands protested after Afify Hosny was tortured to death by police while in detention in Ismailia. The same month, Luxor citizen Talat Shabeeb’s death in detention was also protested, as family and friends said he was tortured by police and a widely circulated video appeared to show his body with heavy bruising around his neck.
A previous Nadeem report alleged that police were responsible for 272 deaths during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first year in office, between June 2014 and June 2015. The center claimed that that year was the worst in terms of rights violations since the center was founded in 1993.