World

Egypt Is Covering Up A Police Brutality Crisis With Talk Of Terrorism

CREDIT: AP Photo

A policeman stands guard as they patrol a street on Police Day, which is also the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, in Tahrir Square, in the Haram district of Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.

Police brutality in Egypt is still rampant even five years after protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square toppled the brutal Mubarak regime, according to Amnesty International.

“Five years since the uprising that ousted Mubarak, Egypt is once more a police state,” Nicholas Piachaud, Egypt Researcher at Amnesty International, wrote.

“We are in a worse off position than we were in Mubarak years,” human rights lawyer Ragia Omran told CNN.

In 2015, El Nadeem Center, a local rights group that documents torture cases, reported 474 deaths and 700 torture cases of people in police custody. While the revolution that expelled Hosni Mubarak from power subsided, police brutality was one of the driving factors behind the initial protests and eventually a number of riots and clashes.

Police brutality is also sparking a movement in the U.S., where police fatally shot 987 people in 2015, according to the Washington Post. And just over three weeks into 2016, another 54 people were already shot to death by police. Other incidents, including a police black site in Chicago called Homan Square where police disappeared 7,000 people, contribute to angst among an oppressed population. Where Egyptians gathered for protests in Tahrir Square, the U.S. experienced large scale demonstrations in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore.

One of the major reasons police brutality led to a revolution in Egypt was because the police were notoriously brutal against all segments of the population. Whether young, old, religious, secular, lower, or middle class, all Egyptians feared police backlash.

Today, the country is wary of extremist groups like ISIS. The police and security services are targeted by these groups and many of the police are on edge. With security a primary focus of the Egyptian government, police have been handed a free reign to impose their methods on the civilian population.

“Seeing ‘terrorism’ everywhere, but unable to catch it, they have cast a net so wide as to encompass all of Egypt. This botched ‘counter-terror’ campaign has seen peaceful dissenters locked up while armed groups slip through the net,” Amnesty’s Piachaud wrote.