Cairo gets brutal with opposition demonstrators
Egyptian security forces clubbed demonstrators in the streets on Thursday and a court rejected an appeal against a jail term by a former election challenger to President Hosni Mubarak in twin blows to the opposition. Plainclothes security men beat and kicked protesters rallying in support of judicial independence in Cairo, while Egypt's highest appeal court threw out the appeal by jailed opposition leader Ayman Nour.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the court's decision as a deeply troubling "miscarriage of justice" by one of Washington's key Middle East allies.
Reuters, 15 May 2006
Egypt: Police Assault Demonstrators, Journalists
(New York, May 13, 2006) � Thousands of Egyptian security forces sealed off much of downtown Cairo on Thursday and violently attacked protestors attempting to demonstrate in support of reformist judges, Human Rights Watch said today.
Abir al-'Askari, a writer for the weekly al-Dustour, told Human Rights Watch her paper had asked her to cover the demonstrations and the disciplinary hearing at the High Court. She arrived at 8 a.m. to meet with a group that had spent the night at the Lawyers' Syndicate:
I was just getting out of the taxi when five or six men ran up to me, carried me from the cab and took me to where the Central Security trucks and blue police microbuses were parked, at the corner of 'Abd al-Khaliq Tharwat and Ramsis streets. They beat me, put me in a police microbus, and drove me to Sayyida Zeinab police station. I screamed and resisted, and they beat me, pulled my hair and my veil. Right in front of the police station they kicked me. When people gathered and told them to stop they replied, "She's been committing adultery." They took me inside to a room where the officer claimed they sexually harassed [she named three Kifaya activist women arrested earlier in the week]. They took my purse and copied the messages and numbers from my phone. "Nobody will know where you are," the officer said. "You are lost." They tore at my clothes; my shirt buttons. They continued to slap and punch me �. I was lying on the floor. He placed his shoe on my face and said, "Anyone who comes here will get the same treatment." I was there about three hours. Finally they took me in the microbus to Corniche near the Kasr al-Aini hospital and left me; I didn't have my phone or my purse, and my clothes were torn. I had a little money in my pocket, so I went into a shop and called the deputy editor who sent some colleagues to pick me up