Egypt: Human rights defenders under threat
AI is concerned about the continuing deterioriation of the human rights situation in Egypt. Thousands of suspected members and sympathizers of banned Islamist militant groups have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and illegally prolonged detention. Executions of civilians, after grossly unfair military trials, have been taking place at an alarming rate and systematic torture of political prisoners continues to be reported. At least 16 people have died in police custody during the past 18 months. In recent months the authorities have extended the repression to human rights defenders, in particular lawyers and journalists. At least 41 lawyers have been arrested since May 1994. Most of the arrests took place after news broke of the death, reportedly following torture, of 'Abd al-Harith Mohammad Madani, a well-known lawyer.