Torture and abuse are systematic in jails in Egypt, and at least seven people died in police custody there last year, Amnesty International said Thursday. The London-based human rights group said police and state security officials have subjected inmates to electric shock, beatings, whippings, and other forms
of abuse. The group said it had information that at least seven people were tortured to death in 2002. "Torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment continue to be practiced systematically in detention centers," Amnesty said in a statement. The group called it "an endemic problem" in Egypt and said refugees and people detained because of their sexual orientation are particularly vulnerable to the abuse.
The human rights group said it has appealed to Egyptian authorities for years to implement safeguards to prevent abuse and address the existing cases. The group acknowledged that Egypt's prosecutor general has tried some police officers allegedly connected to some of the deaths, but most of those have involved inmates being held in criminal cases, not political ones.