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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1514, INITIATIVES TO COUNTER TORTURE IN EGYPT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1514 2009-08-05 13:01 2011-02-16 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO5273
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1514 2171317
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051317Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3342
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS CAIRO 001514 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DRL/MLGA FOR KRISTEN MCGEENY 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM UN EG
SUBJECT: INITIATIVES TO COUNTER TORTURE IN EGYPT 
 
REF: STATE 70129 
 
ΒΆ1. Torture is a serious problem in Egypt, and there are 
ongoing efforts in the country to prevent its practice and protect victims. Several Egyptian NGOs have ongoing programs to provide legal assistance, and psychological and physical rehabilitation for torture victims. Human rights attorneys routinely file suits against the government on behalf of torture victims. NGOs also work to publicize torture cases involving police officers by engaging with the media and publishing lists of accused and convicted officers. Independent human rights groups consistently address torture in their annual reports.

2.Bloggers have played a significant role in documenting and publicizing torture by police. A blogger's post of a video recording of policemen torturing a bus driver caused domestic and international outrage, and in November 2007 a court sentenced the two officers to three years in prison. A blogger posted a recording of a similar incident in February 2009.

3.The quasi-governmental National Council for Human Rights' annual report released in May calls on the GOE to pass legislation to broaden the definition of torture and increase the relevant penalties. Currently, the law defines torture only in the context of extracting confessions. In close cooperation with the GOE, the United Nations Development Program Human Rights Capacity Building Project, coordinated by a senior MFA official, trains officials from the Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry and Public Prosecutor's office. The UNDP project organizes lectures for GOE officials on combating torture and promoting human rights, focusing on UN human rights conventions and non-violent investigative techniques.

4.We are working to resume a USG-funded community policing training program that addresses human rights. USAID is funding a coalition of Egyptian NGOs to combat torture in police stations. The NGOs will conduct a study in three governorates on incidents of torture and release a report in October. USAID is also funding an Egyptian NGO to provide training for lawyers to recognize the signs of different types of torture, and to document torture cases. USAID is working with another Egyptian NGO which has already trained 30 lawyers to gather information on torture cases, and will develop a database of documented cases designed to assist lawyers, researchers and civil society.

5.We will continue to look for additional opportunities to fund projects to combat torture and raise awareness of the problem. SCOBEY