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Egypt's Draft Constitution in Focus: Torture

[An anti-Mubarak demonstrator whose head is bleeding after being hit with a stone by pro-Mubarak demonstrators during clashes. Image originally posted to Flickr by [An anti-Mubarak demonstrator whose head is bleeding after being hit with a stone by pro-Mubarak demonstrators during clashes. Image originally posted to Flickr by "oxfamnovib"]

[The following video is part of a series of clips produced by the Mosireen collective to promote greater awareness around the draft constitution currently under consideration in national referendum in Egypt. The full series can be accessed by clicking here.]

"We cannot tolerate a regime that practices torture, no matter who is at the head of it," were the opening remarks of Aida Seif El Dawla of the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture

On the issue of torture, the draft constitution’s most critical offense against the Egyptian people is its failure to define torture, not to mention the fact that it makes no mention of the government's obligation to the United Nations Convention against Torture. Given that this constitution is being sponsored by a government that has not only harbored a variety of forms of torture, but also systematically protected security force personnel who perpetrated these acts, this omission proves that the draft constitution is poised to protect a regime of terror directed at the Egyptian people.

The wording of the constitution, coupled with its silence on the question of torture, provides a legal framework that would permit the persistence of state-sponsored violence, which had been a trademark of the Hosni Mubarak regime.

Under the draft constitution, security forces can detain citizens for twelve hours without the right to contact a lawyer or a family member.

One of the primary reasons that drove Egyptians to take to the streets in support of the January 25 Revolution was their rejection of the brutal and systematic use of deadly violence and torture against innocent citizens and detained suspects. The draft constitution, particularly its failure to define acts of state violence, will inevitably perpetuate these same practices. This is a document that seeks to overturn the January 25 Revolution, rather than fulfill its demands.

For more details, please watch the video below (click “CC” for English subtitles).

      

      

 

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