Egyptian Islamist 'tortured to death'

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood has been tortured to death by Egyptian authorities, the Islamist opposition group has said.

    Mubarak's Egypt has been condemned for rights abuses

    The popular Islamist organisation said Saad Sayyid Muhammad Qutb, 43, died on Monday at the headquarters of the Egyptian state security forces in Cairo.

    "He underwent several sessions of interrogation and different

    kinds of torture," a statement said.

    Senior Brotherhood official Sayyid Tarili said

    "this crime exceeds the red lines ... and we will in no case accept

    this blood-letting and these criminal practices".

    The police were not immediately available for comment.

    'Monstrous and unacceptable' 

    The Brotherhood's supreme guide, Maamun al-Hodaibi, said the

    death was "monstrous and unacceptable".

    "We will file a complaint and demand that the authorities launch

    an investigation. This must not happen again," he warned.

    He added the Brotherhood had "several times in the past

    warned the authorities against cases of torture" of its

    members.

    "We will file a complaint and demand that the authorities launch

    an investigation. This must not happen again"

    Maamoun al-Hodaibi,

    Muslim Brotherhood

    The Egyptian Human Rights Organisation said

     the death occurred

     after he was

    admitted to Umm al-Misriyine hospital "where he died without having

    received medical care".

    It said that the

    "hospital report mentioned several injuries on the body" and urged

    the authorities "to take the necessary steps to stop the practice of

    torture".

    Broken promises

    Speaking later on, al-

    Hodaibi said the

    continuing arrests and torture cases have "disappointed the hopes"

    pinned by the Brotherhood on recent pledges made by President Husni

    Mubarak's regime to reform.

    He said the dialogue underway between Mubarak's National

    Democratic Party and several opposition groups was "worthless and

    useless" because it excludes the Brotherhood.

    The group has a "sweeping popularity in all sections of

    society", he added in a speech

    in the Cairo Sheraton hotel.

    Al-Hodaibi renewed his organisation's commitment to "dialogue" and

    its call for the regime to "undertake reforms in all fields" and to

    abolish the emergency laws imposed on Egypt almost without a break

    since 1967.

    The laws grant authorities extensive powers to detain people

    deemed a threat to national security for 45-day renewable periods

    without charges.

    Islamic state

    Al-Hodaibi ended his speech with a tribute to the jailed

    members of the Brotherhood and prayed to God that they are "released

    safe and victorious".

    He also urged their families, many of whom

    attended the banquet, to be patient.

    "The (Egyptian)government intensified its crackdown on suspected political opponents, tightened its control over civil society institutions, and clamped down on freedom of speech and expression"

    Human Rights Watch report 2003 

    The Brotherhood, which was created in 1928 by the Egyptian

    Hassan al-Banna and spread to other Arab countries, calls for the

    establishment of an Islamic state by peaceful means.

    The movement is represented by 16 deputies in the 454-member parliament,

    making it the main opposition force in Egypt.

    They were elected in

    November 2000 as independents because of the ban on much of the

    Brotherhood's activities.

    Although Brotherhood members are frequently arrested on charges of

    trying to revive a banned organisation, they are active in

    professional associations and universities as well as in mosques

    .

    Appalling rights record

    In its 2003 report on Egypt, Human Rights Watch condemned the country's appalling human rights record.

    It said the government intensified its crackdown on suspected political opponents, tightened its control over civil society institutions, and clamped down on freedom of speech and expression.

    Thousands of political suspects remained in prolonged detention without trial under emergency legislation, and there were a series of grossly unfair trials before military or state security courts.

    Human Rights Watch added that torture and ill-treatment of political detainees remains common.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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