Since the start of 2013, rights groups have been reporting an increase in police brutality towards children.
"It is definitely a way of frightening people...the number of children taken by security forces and the manner in which they are detained is unprecedented in my experience," says Ghada Shahbender of the Egyptian Organisation of Human Rights.
She explains that roughly around a third of the recent political prisoners are underage, normally from an impoverished background.
This is certainly true of Abdel-Rahman who is the breadwinner of his family, despite being 13 years old. He, his mother and his five siblings squeeze into a flat no larger than an average-sized living room in Alexandria. According to Abdel-Meneem, his two week disappearance had financial consequences as well as emotional ones.
Abdel-Rahman was detained with 14-year-old bone cancer patient Mahmoud Adel whose story hit international headlines after the judge initially refused to allow him chemotherapy.
Both boys, who say they were bystanders to the Alexandrian demonstration, were only released after significant pressure from rights groups like the Egyptian Organisation of Human Rights.
Police brutality against children
For Abdel-Meneem, not knowing the location of her son, Abdel-Rahman, was one of the most traumatising aspects of her son's disappearance. Typically, no effort is made by Egyptian security forces to contact the children's parents when the arrest occurs.
She spoke of trawling police stations for days and eventually attempting to take food to her son at the Alexandrian Security Directorate, where she was initially refused entry.
The children themselves are threatened with violence if they try to make contact with anyone.
Abdel-Rahman, who appears visibly distressed and had to be coaxed by his family members to relate his story, recalled hearing friends shouting his name as they ran behind the Central Security Forces (CSF) truck that transported the boy and other inmates to an unknown location.
"The officer said if we try to call out to our friends and family they would beat us… so we stayed quiet."
There was a seven-year-old boy in one of the cells where he was kept together with adults, Abdel-Rahman added. "My parents didn't know that I was taken away."
There are dozens of children left in prison because the parents do not have relations with resources to find their missing sons and daughters, the boy asserted, while tentatively pointing to the places on his body where he was beaten by security forces.
Abdel-Rahman claimed he was not subjected to the electrocutions and sexual assault that rights groups and victims say inmates, including children, are often subjected to. (Ahram Onlne)