As new cases of torture surface, diplomatic sources say the continuation of Mubarak-era abuses may affect foreign aid and loans to Egypt.
A strongly-worded letter requesting information about reports of systematic torture, at times leading to death, of Egyptian political activists has been sent to the Egyptian government by the Geneva-based Committee Against Torture.
The committee is the body charged with overseeing the commitment of governments to observe the terms of the UN Convention against Torture, which Egypt has ratified.
The letter referred to recent reports of torture by a number of activists, including some allegations of rape.
According to a source at the ministry of justice, the letter does not conclude firmly that the “alleged cases of torture” occurred but “it does demand clarification on specific cases.”
Among the specific cases included in the letter is Mohamed El-Gendy, an activist whose death on 4 February was blamed on police torture by his family and by other activists. A government forensic report attributed his death to a car accident, and government sources have denied the allegations of torture.
According to the source at the ministry of justice, a “reply to refute the accounts will be sent to the committee.”
“We are waiting for some information to come from the ministry of interior on a few matters and then we will draft a reply,” he said.
The government's formal response will then have to be vetted by the ministry of foreign affairs before it is sent to the committee.