Detainees begin hunger strike in Cairo

Time of article published May 28, 2006

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Cairo - Egyptian activists detained after taking part in demonstrations in support of reformist judges in Cairo began a hunger strike on Sunday calling for an investigation into torture allegations of colleagues, and the release of political detainees, their lawyers told AFP.

"Six detainees have begun a hunger strike Sunday calling for the medical examination of Mohammed al-Sharqawi and Karim al-Shaer," said Khaled Ali, one of the lawyers for the detainees adding that others will join the strike if their demands are not met.

The Egyptian pro-reform Kefaya (Enough) movement accused police of torture after two activists - Mohammed al-Sharqawy and Karim al-Shaer Nwere arrested following a rally in Cairo in support of reformist judges on Thursday.

The group accused officers of having tortured Sharqawi and of sodomising him with rolled up carton.

In a statement posted on an Egyptian website, the detainees called for an investigation into allegations of torture and a medical examination by forensics to establish torture.

The detainees also called for the release of political prisoners supporting the judiciary in its call for independence from the executive authority.

"Our continued detention proves the regimes fear and terror of peoples opposition to its corruption, dictatorship and its systematic destruction of the country," read the statement.

The two activists had participated in a rally Thursday in support of reformist judges and to mark the first anniversary of a referendum day tarnished by violence against opposition activists.

Lawyers who visited Sharqawy in prison confirmed that he was badly hurt.

"I could see that he (Sharqawy) was tortured brutally," Gamal Eid, one of the lawyers present during interrogation of the two men, told AFP.

"His eyes were swollen and there were shoe marks on his neck and chest," Eid added.

The movement to support the judges has been brutally repressed by police in recent weeks.

To date, 432 members of different pro-reform groups are behind bars. Most were picked up while demonstrating in solidarity with Egyptian reformist judges. - Sapa-AFP

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