A chilling report recently published in the Egyptian newspaper, al-Masry al-Youm, reveals that the torture chambers once utilized by the Hosni Mubarak regime to tamp down protesters are being put to the same if not greater use by the country's new, self-proclaimed dictator, Mohammed Morsi.
Despite the Obama administration and worldwide media's insistence that the election of the Muslim Brotherhood leader was a watershed moment for democracy in the Middle East, it would seem those hopes are on a rapid downward trajectory as reports of savage beatings and brutality against Egyptian protesters, abound.
This disturbing revelation came to light just days ago when an al-Masry al-Youm reporter, with the help of a Brotherhood-owned and operated television station, was given an exclusive tour of the torture chambers. While one might think the decision to grant a journalist access to such a chilling look into the way the Muslim Brotherhood treats its critics as counter-intuitive, it makes perfect sense. After all, what could possibly ever serve as better warning for those even thinking of resisting Morsi's push for a totalitarian regime based on sharia law than to know what will happen to them if they do?
Al-Monitor reports that the central torture chamber is located near the Ittihadiya Palace, just opposite the gates facing the Omar Ibn Abdel Aziz Mosque. The street is reportedly "secured with a cordon and iron barriers, where the Central Security Forces (CSF) barr any and all access without the authorization of the Brotherhood.
During the three-hour visit, the al-Masry reporter explained that “protesters suspected of working against the Muslim Brotherhood are tortured and beaten with the knowledge of the police before being handed over for formal detention.”
Al-Monitor provides an English translation of the al-Masry reporter's account:
We entered the chamber with a great difficulty, after a fellow journalist from the Misr 25 TV channel facilitated. The channel is owned by the Brotherhood. There are brigades and police officers in military uniforms, as well as others in civilian clothes from al-Nozha police station, who oversee the beatings, whippings and torture. Fifteen others from the group, distinguished by their strong bodies, are supervised by three bearded and well-dressed men who decide who will be in the chamber and who may leave, even if the person is a member of the Brotherhood.
The torture process starts once a demonstrator who opposes President Mohammed Morsi is arrested in the clashes or is suspected after the clashes end, and the CSF separate Morsi’s supporters from his opponents. Then, the group members trade off punching, kicking and beating him with a stick on the face and all over his body. They tear off his clothes and take him to the nearest secondary torture chamber, from which CSF personnel, members of the Interior Ministry and the State Security Investigations Services (SSIS) are absent.
While perhaps not shocking to those who have long known of the Brotherhood's penchant for violence and history as the parent of all major Islamic extremist groups (including al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al), the accounts are heartrending nonetheless. The torture was conducted right before the al-Masry reporter's eyes in the hopes that he would share the information with fellow Egyptians as a warning.
“They tear off his clothes and take him to the nearest secondary torture chamber, from which CSF [Central Security Forces -ed.] personnel, members of the Interior Ministry and the State Security Investigations Services (SSIS) are absent,” the al-Masry journalist reported. He went on to explain that before a Muslim Brotherhood-led interrogation commences, they search an alleged dissident "seizing his funds, cellphones or ID, all the while punching and slapping his face in order to get him to confess to being a thug and working for money."
“They ask him why he took to the street, whether he got paid to take part in the protest and whether he supports Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of the Constitution Party, or Hamdeen Sabahi, founder of the Egyptian Popular Current or the dissolved Egyptian Nationalist movement," the al-Masry reporter continued before explaining that the entire interrogation process is recorded on video by the Brotherhood-operated news channel.
"As long as this person denies the allegations, they beat him and insult his parents.” Al-Masry adds:
Beatings continued while the victims were transported from the secondary torture chamber to the central one. Many of the prisoners were unable to answer questions after severe beatings, and they were not given medical aid despite bleeding over their entire bodies.
Once the protesters are handed over to the police, the Muslim Brotherhood thugs fall out of the picture.
“We left the place and found blood flowing on the sidewalk of the palace,” the journalist continued.
“Someone had tried to cover the blood with soil to remove it. However, no one will be able to clean the image of this blood from the memory of Egyptians for hundreds of years."
Al-Monitor's translation continued in even greater detail, revealing that young prisoner was found shouting at fellow inmates that he, himself is a "bearded sheikh," and that "Sheikh Safwat Hijazi will avenge me...I am a Muslim just like you.”
According to the report, a man accused of representing the former leader of the People's Assembly took the brunt of the beatings while another man who'd been bloodied said, “I am educated. I am not a thug, leave me alone."
Of course it comes as no surprise that the prisoners currently being held in captivity are reportedly in poor health so much so that they were unable to answer even simple questions. "Some of them were bleeding all over their bodies, severely exhausted and not receiving any medical aid," the report continued.
The picture featured above is, according to al-Masry, of one of the detainees.