Is this the army meant to protect our revolution?
Is this the army that will take Mubarak to court?
Is this the army that will bring justice to the 380 martyrs and thousands who have been injured in Egypt?
علي صبحي ممثل شاب, 28 عام, اعتقله الجيش يوم 9 مارس 2011 اثناء فض اعتصام التحرير, و اخلى سبيله بعد حملة اعلامية ضاغطة يوم 12 مارس2011- مرفق شهادته
Aly Sobhy is a 28-year-old actor who was arrested by the Egyptian army on Wednesday 9 March 2011 as the army was dispersing Tahrir square sit in. Aly was released 12th of March 2011 after a pressuring media campaign. (Scroll down to view English translation of his testimony)
Translator’s Note: ‘Raise your head high, you’re Egyptian’ is one of the most enduring slogans to come out of the revolution. It emerged on the day of Mubarak’s resignation, and was embraced by all of Egypt.
I’m going to start from 5 in the afternoon, from when I got up and left the al-Hamidiya coffeeshop in Bab el-Louq on Wednesday 9/3/2011with my friend Lobna Essam after a meeting with some friends. By chance we’d been talking about Egyptian prisons and what happens inside them (see God’s wisdom when he wants to prove something to you!). Anyway, Lobna and I started moving towards Dar Merit publishing house on Kasr el-Nil Street. When we got up to leave, we decided to take a look at Tahrir Square because we both hadn’t been there in four days because we’d been caught up in making a living.
We walked along Tahrir Street until we got to the square and we found it like we’d left it four days ago, plus a few traces left behind by the bunch of thugs who attacked them on Tuesday night and tried to beat them up and actually did beat them up but the kids were tougher than the thugs, as usual. Anyway the nicest change that I noticed in the square was that glorious Egyptian flag that was flying really high and fluttering, and looking at it made me want to stay in the square again. And honestly, it was that flag that appealed to me the most, not considering the sit-in, and maybe I liked it even more than the sit-in. Anyway we sat for a bit and waxed poetic about the flag and we walked around the roundabout and we saw a lot of our friends but they didn’t see us because we were walking around like tourists, just wanting to get to Dar Merit through Tahrir. Everyone’s fine, God be praised . . . Aida’s good, I can see her talking on the phone; Maysara’s fighting with the kid who took his tabla drum. Very cool.
So we kept on our path and walked straight until we got to Kasr el-Nil Street, across from our Egyptian Museum that the army’s been occupying and using to torture Egyptians, and there were lots of people gathered around that area and we thought it was protests and everything’s fine and life’s good. We went into Kasr el-Nil Street and before we reached Merit we heard loud noise coming from behind us. We looked back and we saw the army and the people (who turned out to be the thugs among ‘the people’) running towards the square. We went back to take a look and we saw that things were really messy and people were running back with tents and things and there’s chaos and people running and kids shouting “The People and the Army are One” and the thugs have wooden staffs and they’re taking the people from the square.
Lobna got really scared and this was the first time she’d gotten so scared which was strange since she’d seen worse before. That was mother’s intuition talking – she had a feeling that something really bad was about to happen. Anyway, I took her up to Merit and persuaded her that I’m going back down and I’ll be safe and I’ll talk to her on the phone the whole time and that she shouldn’t worry. I went back down to the square and when I got to the museum I saw, wonder of wonders, soldiers rounding up anyone taking photos… and anyone who looked respectable… and anyone who wasn’t saying “Pick them up those sons of bitches who wrecked the country! The People Want to Clear the Square!” and I found myself spontaneously saying “Yes pick them up those dirty sons of bitches, we can’t go to work because of them!”
Anyway after I became one of them and was got on the safe side I saw them taking Ramy Essam and heading with him towards the museum.
Aly: Ramy, what’s going on?
Ramy (stunned and terrified): I don’t know!!!!! What’s going on?!
Aly: Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.
So I called Kalabala and told him.
Aly: Shit, Kalabala, they arrested Ramy!
Kalabala (fast and anxious): Ramy who?
Aly: Ramy Essam, Kalabala.
Kalabala: Ok don’t worry we’ll get him out, but just come before they
arrest you as well.
Aly: No it’s cool don’t worry, I’m arresting them with the army.
Anyway, after a while I tried to get into the square but I was really going to get arrested so I decided to go back after I found out that most of the people I know managed to escape from the square. I went back to my spot and as I was going back I saw them arresting Ismail Gamal, God bless him, and the exact same conversation took place as the one with Ramy Essam, as if they’d agreed on it. I told him don’t worry we’ll get you out and I called Tari Gamal, his sister, and told her. A little while later I saw them arresting Youssef I-Don’t-Know-His-Dad’s-Name. I called Niveen el-Touny to find out his dad’s name and she told me she’d send it to me in a text message, which I haven’t received till now because the soldier took my phone as he was arresting me.
I called Salma Said to check up on her and Aida and I told her the names of the people I’d seen and she told me don’t worry, we’ll take care of it. Note: Everyone was saying don’t worry we’ll take care of it because they were confident that they were going to take care of it but I was saying don’t worry because I didn’t understand the reason for the terrified look on people’s faces, but after I came out of jail I knew.
Anyway – and this is probably where my cover was blown and they found out I was with the revolution not with the thugs – I saw a soldier carrying my orange tabla drum, the one I love, the one Maysara was fighting over with the kid, and walking towards the museum. I found myself running towards it and telling Salma on the phone “They took my
drum, Salma, I don’t care, make them let my drum go, too!” So she said again “Don’t worry, we’ll get the drum out as well” and she really sounded sure of herself. Anyway a tiny little while after I met a guy who was at the sit-in with us and he asked me about everyone and I reassured him and told him don’t worry everyone’s fine and he insisted I tell him where they were!
Two seconds later a soldier came and caught me and he was the same kid who had caught my drum . . . the drum had probably ratted me out . . . anyway “What’s going on, man?” “Come with me!” “Ok, what’s going on?” “Where’s your phone?” “Here it is,” I said, holding it in my hand and he took it and put it in his pocket. He was pushing me towards the museum and was holding the other kid that was with me by the hand! I walked with him without resisting, to preserve my dignity so I wouldn’t get beaten up in the street like the rest of the people (because I am a gentleman Artist and it wouldn’t do for me to get
beaten up in public). We got to the museum and he let the kid go and he sent me in (?????)
And this was the beginning. Sorry for that long introduction, but it might be useful.
Anyway I was pulled by this soldier kid inside the cordon that the army had created outside the museum like the one that their brothers, the police, had made before, but the difference is that before, the people were not cooperating with the police. First thing was a nice head-butt from a short soldier kid who couldn’t reach my head and I was telling him, “What’s up, my cousin, relax, what did I do” and, by the way, I call all soldiers ‘my cousin’:
My cousin: You screwed up the country you dirty sons of bitches!
Aly: Don’t worry man, everything’s gonna be fine, we’ll get you out.
Another was hitting me on the back of the neck and I could see in the background an uneven battle between people hitting and people getting hit and suddenly an officer, who looked like he’d had special forces training but super tough, was flying with his legs in the air like Bruce Lee right towards me. The soldier kids were holding me by the arms and pushing me forward for him and he slammed me in the chest with the army-issued boots that are worn by the army, the army that’s with the people, the people that used to say “The People and the Army are One.”
I took the blow square in the chest and precisely in the spot where I had my lung surgery two years ago, the scars of which are still there and which I still suffer from. I fell on the ground, sure that I would never stand again, and they dragged me by the hair (in the days when I still had hair) and this officer was jumping up and down on me and falling onto me and getting up and jumping up and down on every part of me. I moved forward a bit and then they stood me up and tied me by the hair from a horizontal pole – I don’t know where they got it from – and they kept hitting me in the knees and shins and I would fall towards the ground and my hair would pull me up. After some time of this torture my hair got loose from the the black tie and here I cursed my hair that I used to love. One soldier’s holding a razor and hacking away at my hair and an officer’s doing his Kung Fu moves on me and another soldier’s hitting me with a wooden staff across my back and
another soldier’s electrocuting me!!!!! And only here did I begin to be sure of my strength, because I wasn’t dead yet. I started to say my testament of faith because at any moment I was going to get a blow to the head and suffer severe hemorrhaging and die. And that was all I kept repeating until I got into the car that would take us to Scene 28, where the set had been prepared and where we were filmed shackled and in front of us knives and cutlasses and Molotov cocktails and bombs made from tea sets.
My cousin: Lie down you son of a *beeeeeeeeeep*!
And he tied my hands behind my back and blindfolded me with this silly thing I could see everything through and then he dragged me into a place he made me feel certain I would die in.
It was like piles of meat thrown on the ground and the soldiers of Egypt’s armed forces on top of them, raining down on them all kinds of beating and torture: electrocution, sticks, wooden staffs, electric cables, their boots, they themselves. I was tossed among them and I became like them and every once in a while someone’s thrown on top of me so I end up getting a bit less beaten, but of course they’re much smarter than that.
After a bit they got this great idea, because we were refusing to die . . . so they thought, instead, they would kill the thing in us that, if it were to die, we would die.
All the soldiers together (military style): Raise your head high, boy, you’re Egyptian!
Us, the people, all of us: Wow, they laid off and finally got it, thank you God!
And as we raised our heads up because we’re Egyptian, they kicked us in the head with their boots.
The shock of a lifetime.
This happened to everyone, which proved to me that it happened in a collective way and that I’d really heard right when they all said together, “Raise your head high, boy, you’re Egyptian, BANG in your face.” Long live Egypt.
Here I decided to live and I started saying God save us from these infidels because I have to tell just this part of the story, the rest isn’t important to me.
After a while of this kind of thing, this officer came who looked like a big gun. I didn’t see him of course but from his voice he sounded like a big deal. My chin was on the ground the whole time and he said to the soldiers in a proud and formidable tone:
The Big Gun: Stop the beating.
In a second the beating had stopped and that’s how we knew he was someone important. A kind soldier came around giving us water and he seemed really moved by our appearance. Anyway they gave us water and then they sat us down on our behinds (making sure to call things by their formal names) and then they started taking close-up shots of our faces and they went through us one by one. Three hand-held cameras and one B-2 camera and a senior officer behind the B-2 camera telling the soldier
shooting what to do (a Director of Photography).
They filmed us and documented the state we were in and everything’s all fine and then they gathered us together and searched us and took everything that was in our pockets except our IDs, all this of course with the hitting and cursing still going on, no respect at all for the big man who was just here a little while ago who said stop the beating. We stood in rows like in the army and one by one we were searched and then got on the bus. The buses were filling up then parking on the side, all in a row. We were thanking God that we were still alive and that we weren’t getting beaten at all, but we were terrified of our unknown fate.
Suddenly we heard a familiar sound, an attractive and feminine sound, collective, harmonious, a sound that, all of us, girls and boys, are fond of: “Raise your head high, you’re Egyptian!”
The girls decided to taunt the soldiers and chant to them our slogan! All the guys were embarrassed and looked down at the floor when they found out that the girls had more balls than them. But they didn’t know that the girls hadn’t been beaten which was why they didn’t care. And if we did the same thing, we would get totally screwed.
Anyway so we went to Scene 28 which was the Military Prosecution where the set was prepared for the arrest report that was broadcast on Egyptian television. An interior decoration officer was fixing up the set with two soldier assistants under him. A Director of Photography officer with three or four light crew guys and one cameraman, also soldiers. And a very respectable-looking senior officer who wanted everything to finish quickly and who kept hurrying them. This was the director.
Anyway they brought out the kids that looked dodgy – which included me because my front teeth are gone and my hair was a mess – and put them in the front. The rest of the kids – that they made look like they were from the streets – they put on either side of me and then they arranged us in rows like you saw.
The lighting is ready, sir.
The Director: Get me their seized weapons.
The soldiers got the knives and the Molotov cocktails and the bombs made out of tea and laid them out on the table and the Interior Decorator started adding his personal touch to the display. This next to that, this gas cooker next to that knife – and this, I have to be fair, was indeed the fine touch of a master film industry decorator.<span> </span>
Anyway, all ready, sir, and the Director of Photography gave his order to the cameraman and the man took his word and started to take close-ups and medium shots and wide angles and everything any director’s heart would desire.
The kid sitting next to me took out two tickets he had for the metro he was riding and put them in front of his face in a V for Victory and the officer said to him, Oh well done.
“This is the one who injured the officer, sir.”
The other officer said, “It’s okay, leave him to me. Put these tickets away, boy.” The strange thing is that he didn’t take them away from him even though they were evidence that he’s innocent, but unfortunately they made me bring him to them in the morning before we left and they took the tickets away from him and probably framed him for the officer’s injury and let’s just hope he doesn’t get a death sentence.
Anyway, so they filmed us and sorted us out and I got to be on TV and stuff, kids! Then they put us on the buses again and left us till the morning. Around 7 am this cute officer came and said, Come. I thought I was getting out and I started to cheer up but then I got a sinking feeling in my gut when I realised he hadn’t called me by my name. So how did he know me? Anyway, “Come, get me the kid that was sitting next to you with the two metro tickets.” I couldn’t say no because then I would’ve been the one who had injured the officer and then I’d be sentenced to death.
Anyway around 7 o’clock they brought a bunch of us down and put us into the prisoners’ transfer truck and we didn’t know where we were going. As soon as we got into this truck this guy called Hisham Abbas kept saying “We’re the people of the bus”* and Eid was hitting Se’eedy, the guy with the scarves with the Egyptian flag on them because he was the one who brought him here and me and Mohammad Tarek were trying to figure out where we knew each other from. And others who didn’t know where we were going and didn’t care because they were already as good as dead from the beating and it didn’t matter where we were going because it wouldn’t be worse than what had passed.
And the big surprise came when we found ourselves on the Cairo-Suez Road. Now we’re in trouble. After ages of course we slept and we got up and we did a bunch of other stuff and we still hadn’t arrived anywhere.
Anyway, we got to the Armed Forces’ Main Prison at Hikestep. And the first thing we saw was a huuuuuuuuuuge picture of their big boss Hosni Mubarak. And there by the prison gates was written all this crap about ‘the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has done this and that’.
Are we in Sharm el-Sheikh?
No-one’s got a clue about what’s going on.
We came out of the truck inside the prison and received a very respectable welcome that I daresay was not offered to our Israeli brothers who were taken as prisoners of war in the ’73 war.
A very respectable reception, we got. But this time we were, excuse me, naked, I mean only in our underpants. And of course we got a lot of things any tortured human being’s heart would desire, from stepping on our head to having a stick shoved into us to getting electrocuted in our sensitives. And this poor servant of God, not to boast or anything, they really gave him the treatment with this one. It was the talk of the whole prison around this time and was like a tourist attraction for the soldiers because they wanted to see ‘the actor’.
The Soldiers: What’s this hair, boy
Me: Sorry, sir
The Soldiers: What’s your job, boy?
The Soldiers: Ohhh sweetheart, little sis is an actor. What do you act in
Some beating and then a poke and then he puts in the stick.
And so I realised they could rape me here. Soldiers and they’d gone 45 days without removing their boots, and that was the only problem that made them beat us . . . that they hadn’t taken off their boots in 45 days. Hallelujah.
Anyway, so they sheared my hair off, of course, like a sheep. And then we went in to see the doctors who asked us if anyone had any surgeries before.
Me: Yes sir, I’ve had surgery on my lungs and I can feel its effects now and I’m having trouble breathing.
The Doctors: Okay okay.
They noted this down and took a look at us and then we went into their clinic and they documented our states precisely: bruises and superficial wounds. Sign this, boy. Yes, sir.
And this is the doctor.
A complete community.
We went out in a big line and were celebrated by all the soldiers we met. They took us into a big space called Prison 3 – Visitors. And they locked us up in cells, 14 cells in total. From time to time we saw a new group coming in, looking like the same number had been done on them. And of course most of us fell asleep from the beating we took and the exhaustion and fatigue.
We woke up to them gathering us all and this was the first time we were all gathered together, a huge number. Many people knew each other and even more people didn’t. They took us to a place outside this part but still inside the prison called the Command Building. This building had the name Hosni – shit – Mubarak written on it twice. And it only had 2 photographs.
One of him.
One of General Tantawy.
Excellent. Now we get the game.
Every group is ten kids, young as roses. Heading them is a cute officer they call a Public Prosecutor who’s investigating the cases. They’re all kidding around and laughing and hitting each other jokingly and then hitting us for real. I swear to God it was like they
were on some fun field trip.
None of them is pissed off at the fact that they had to come all this way or even that he’s had this army uniform on for 45 days. He’s working, locking people up, no big deal.
A field trip.
Anyway I went in, me and two people I don’t know, for questioning. We went in one by one. As I was sitting waiting for my turn the public prosecutor was questioning a girl called Mariam and he was talking to someone on the phone saying, “Come on man, why don’t you come spend those couple of hours with us.”
I swear to God this happened in front of my eyes and my ears and my whole body that was tossed on the ground stealing a look every so often so I can see who’s this sweet public prosecutor . . . and who’s this chick Mariam who’s letting a guy like that investigate her.
Anyway then it was my turn and I went in to the prosecutor. And this guy was something else. Open jacket, very cool dude, looked very decent and he’d written a very decent arrest report. The report mentioned all the things that were on the table that you saw with on TV, and also . . . breaking the curfew.
I mean, if I were him I would just shoot me right then and there, no investigation needed. After he finished the report he said, “What happened with you, darling?”
I told him the whole truth, no more, no less. That I was standing watching the army arresting the thugs and then they caught me with them and that I came here by mistake. He said that’s what they all say and then he said to the writer, “Did you write that, son?” He said “Yes”, so he told me “Okay, sign.”
I signed and then I said “Okay sir, so what’s gonna happen to me?” He looked at me smiling this smile that I swear to God I will never forget as long as I live, and said:
Prosecutor: Hahahaha nothing, you’ll appear before the court hahahahahaha and you’re gonna get 5 to 7 years, hahahahahaha
I: started laughing.
I came out of the prosecutor’s falling apart, crying after I sat outside for a while longer waiting for the third guy to get done with the questioning and I heard a girl who was about 20 years old begging the prosecutor to not sign the report and kissing his shoes.
It was the first time I cried.
We went out and sat for two hours in the cold until the prosecution were finished and then they took us, ten at a time, into the court.
The Black Comedy
We’re being tried in the officer’s mess. And for those who don’t know what a mess is, it’s the canteen.
And the cooks were working away and the court was in session and everyone’s playing, man, everyone bright and perky. And every so often the judge would tell a soldier to tell those kids to shut up, so the soldier would go to the soldiers in the kitchen and tell them “please lower your voices because we can’t work like this.”
And the soldiers would go “It’s not like we’re playing, we’re working too.” And the soldier would go “It’s not my fault, he’s the one who said.” I swear to God they drew my attention away from the court and all the important things that were being said by the judge and the lawyers, those extras that I’ve seen in a lot of great films.
And so on.
And so on.
And so on.
Acting, acting, and more acting.
And they were screwing me over because I’m an actor.
Anyway, I forgot to say that before we went in to see the prosecutor we ate for the first time. I don’t know what time it was but we ate raw rice and boiled vegetables that tasted really good I mean seriously good, I’m not kidding, and it was the thing I liked most after that kid Se’eedy and Eid who for the whole four days until I left were hitting each other.
Anyway we went to the cells and slept deeply and dreamed beautiful dreams that didn’t have any torture or electrocution in them because we were almost stoned from the rice and the very nice boiled vegetables.
And that was the only day we ate rice.
And that was the only day I managed to sleep because of my chest and my back and my – excuse me – behind and my knees and my index finger that was swollen and that kept jabbing the guy sleeping next to me, Ahmed Asaliya. Anyway.
I got out safely, me and a group, after pressure for our release by people outside, and if it wasn’t for that we would’ve gotten court-marshaled. And here I am after all that saying everything without feeling emotionally affected.
And here I am telling them because they’re going to see these words sooner or later.
I’ve never been as strong as I am right now and I know that I won’t
be done until I die,
and the only way to get rid of us is
to finish off the people of Egypt.
Long live the struggle of the Egyptian people.
who decided to become a thug.
But not to everyone.
Monday 14 March 2011
Student, 18 years old (3 Feb – 10 Feb) Met on 11 February
I was arrested on Thursday the 3rd of February with many others. They locked us up on the museum and then blindfolded us and put us in microbuses and took us to an unknown place, then they told us this is the intelligence building in Madinet Nasr. There they stripped us, beat us and whipped us. I was suspended from my feet for two days. They were asking me if I was with Baradei, with Muslim Brotherhood, with Mortada Mansour. Then they took us, still blindfolded, to the military prison. They stripped us again and made us sleep face down and beat and whipped us. There was a lawyer in his forties. His name is Osama. They beat him until he died> (Identified later as Osama Abdel Moneim Allam, MB lawyer, his body was delivered to his family on the 17th of February). There was also a blind man and they beat him brutally. A young man called Karim Amer was with us also and was released on the same day like me. An officer, his name is Ashraf, brought an electric wire and told me to hold it with both hands or else he will put it to my tongue and my genitals. I held it and flew in the air and fell. I was released yesterday (10th of February) (Examined by El Nadim).
Pupil, 15 years old from Helwan (10 Feb – 28 Feb) Met 1st of March
I was coming from Sharkeyya on the 10th of Feb at 4 a.m. with my dad. We were in front of the Fateh mosque in Ramsis. We were on our way home after we failed to visit my sister because of the curfew. It was 4 a.m. My father went to get some food. There was nobody around us, only two more people. Four tall people came, wearing sunglasses, dressed in black, the glass of their car was grey. They carried weapons and beat us with the back of the gun, the three of us. They blindfolded us and kept beating us. We all fainted. They put us in a car. WE drove for a long time. They took us to a place called ward 1, a group of cells. Adults were put 2 in each cell and the young 3 in each cell. They made us rum while they whipped us, they beat us with their hands as well. There were two rows of soldiers who would extend their legs so that we trip and fall. Then they would beat us again. Then two tall people came again with sun glasses, they would put electric wires onto us for half a minute and then rest of a few minutes and then repeat. The first three days they only used obscenities. No food, no water, no toilets. Then we got a piece of cheese and half a loaf of baladi bread in the late afternoon. That was the food. How would they wake us up? They would shoot in the air from the beginning of the ward. WE woke up to the sound of shooting bullets every day. The second week they would throw gas canisters and shoot at the ceiling of the ward. They beat us with sticks. They removed the blindfolded after 3 days. The walls were black and a small window 20 x 20 cm. the cell was small not enough for three people to sleep next to each other. A new person joined us in the cell near by. Don’t remember what time. He told us we are in Abdeen palace. Third week they kept telling us you have put the country on fire. We were 100 or less. I was the youngest. I had no ID. I gave them my school ID. I was released yesterday (28 Feb) after midnight. The father has not returned yet.
Five citizens from Mansoura (3 Feb – 10 Feb) Met on 20th of February
Five victims of torture in military custody from the province of Dahaqliya. All 5 men (except for number 2) filed a complaint and do not object to their names being published in connection with the torture allegations. Accountant, 47; Owner of small construction factory, 32; primary school teacher, 46; pharmacist, 32; and secondary school teacher, 43. The five were part of a group 17 men from the same village in Dahaqliya who came to join the protests on 3 February. They were confronted by more than 100 armed pro-Mubarak activists – who apparently included security forces in plain clothes – in the area of Saptiya (near Maspiro). The group from Dahaqliya asked to be handed over to the army. Two of the group managed to escape. The remaining 15 people were handed over at a nearby army checkpoint to Special Forces (Quwat Khassa) in plain clothes. There was no military police visible. The group was blindfolded and handcuffed. Later they were taken into a vehicle. They were threatened to be shot and that they will never see their families again. They thought they will be executed. The group was pushed but not beaten or otherwise ill-treated until this moment. All 15 were taken to the Mukhabarat Askariya in Nasser City. They remained at the Mukhabarat Askeriya from Thursday (3 February) until Saturday (5 February). Their testimonies:
– We were blindfolded when taken to and during interrogations. Interrogators asked about our political affiliation and links with the protests. I denied that I was taking part in the protests. I was threatened to be raped or killed. However, I was not beaten. We were kept in an outside area and as it rained we got wet
– I was interrogated together with 4 or 5 other detainees. Although I was blindfolded I knew there were several of us. The interrogator asked: what were you doing in Cairo? When I responded that I was on my way to the demonstration I was slapped in the face. The interrogator said: You belong to the Muslim Brothers. When I denied this I was slapped in the face again. The interrogator said: You should not lie. We talked to your brothers who admitted to belong to the Muslim Brothers. The interrogator asked: who pays you money to go to the demonstration. I said that it was my won decision to join the protests. When I was interrogated a second time I had to sign a testimony which I was not allowed to read. (NOTE: The blindfold was lifted just enough to make him see were to sign.
– The day before we were transferred, 22 detainees were called – including 6 from our group of 15 and were later released. We remaining 9 were called to collect our belongings (money and phones etc) and had to sign a receipt. Then our belongings were taken from us again. We were blindfolded and handcuffed. They put us in a group with others into a civilian vehicle – inside it looked like a freezer for transporting food. It had no windows and only a small van. We were driven to an unknown location which we later learned to be the military prison in Heikstep. The drive took about 1 hour. When we arrived soldiers took off our blindfold and handcuffs. We were ordered to take our clothes off – except for our shorts and to lie on the ground. There were about 30 soldiers – including from the Sa’iqa brigade – who were beating us while we were lying face down on the ground. They beat us with whips, belts, plastic cables and used tasers to give us electric shocks. The commander blew the whistle to make the soldiers start and stop the beating. The beating session lasted for about 45 minutes. We were told to line up to enter the prison block. While we were walking into the prison block we were beaten and tasers were used as well. After entering our prison block we had to stand in the courtyard where we were beaten by about 3 soldiers wearing uniforms. Some of us were in a terrible state. After about 1 hour we were told to dress and taken into our cells. The cells were overcrowded. Those with injuries were allowed to see the prison doctor for treatment.
– On 7 February we were taken to the military prosecutor for interrogation
– On 9 February we were brought before the military court who told us we would be sentenced for breaking the curfew and that the verdict would be pronounced on 12 February – however, we were released before that date.
– On 10 February at about 15.30 we were released. There were about 500 detainees released the same afternoon. we were driven in army vehicles outside the premises of the military camp in Heikstep and left on the road Cairo – Suez.
Ain Shams University Student (28 January – 16 Feb)
On the 28th of January, I and another person (who could not come with me today) were in a car along the cornice. We were stopped by a popular committee and they checked the licenses. We drove a little and they attacked us. We could not foresee this. They destroyed the car. We were taken by army officers in a small truck and handcuffed us behind our backs. We arrived at Qobri El Qobba (investigations). They said you’ll stay only for half an hour and then we will let you go. I said I was a student. Behind me stood a man who stabbed me with a knife in my leg and then I was hit hard on the back of my head. My head bled and they sent me to have it stitched: 20 stitches. Hardly the doctor finished his work I was blindfolded and handcuffed and taken to another place. Beating, electric shocks, stripping. Then they took us to the military prison for 17 days. Beatings and humiliation. They beat with hoses, shows, belts and with their hands. They even used a tree branch and then there was this electric baton. The food was very little, barely to keep us alive. No water. The cell was very small. The day they do not beat us they humiliate us. We would have to squat and if one moves one gets beaten. Saturday the 12th of February they took us to the New Valley prison (El Wadi El Gadid), first by train to Assiut and then in a prison truck. We arrived Sunday morning. Beatings at the entrance but to a lesser extent. Then the treatment got better. My mother looked for in the morgue and all prisons. She traveled a lot and was badly treated. In the train station we were beaten by central and state security, as we were the ones who ruined the country. Then we went to the prosecution accused of forced theft (we didn’t have anything on us), destruction of public property and breaking the curfew. There were volunteer lawyers we did not know. Breaking the curfew was established and we learned that they sentenced us to 6 months. That is why they took us to the New Valley. They released us on the 16th of February in the afternoon. They released us 15 each without money, without anything. We helped each other. The took our IDs and did not return them. We don’t know what is the legal situation right now. Nobody told us anything and we did not see any papers.
Technical school graduate, 36 years old, lather, married with three children, 2, 12 and 13 yrs old
A relative of mine was shot dead in Zawya El Hamra on the 28th of January. We had the funeral on the 29th and I was on my way home at 11 pm. I was walking through Ahmed Said street. A man stopped me and asked for my ID? Another held me from one side and another from the other side. One of them had a track in his hand and they were talking violently. Then they started beating me and said we shall give you over to the army. They took me to the army close to the aviation hospital. In the front yard of the hospital they pushed me to the ground and hit me on the head, both the men together with an officer in uniform. They handcuffed me behind my back and beat me with sticks and rifle butts. They carried us like animals and threw us in an army jeep and took us to the investigations, possibly Manshiet el Bakry. We had with us soldiers and sergeants dressed in plain clothes. All of them were beaten and insulted just like we were. As if we were in Israel. They threw us, about 120, in a cell. They threw dirty water on us and stood by the windows with electric tasers. I remained there until next day at noon time. They kept us squatting and videoed us. Then they took us in a car, about 30 of us, our hands tied behind our backs and took us to the military prison. There was this freezer car with 65 bodies which they disposed of in the desert. It was a freezer and the ferion leaked and they froze. In the military prison they received us with beatings. They beat with their hands, and belts and tasers and hoses and rifle buts and tree branches. We would take off our clothes and walk barefoot until we entered the prison compound. A huge yard. They ordered us to sit and continued to beat us. Anybody who would raise his head would be beaten. They searched us and took our money. We remained 4 days in the military prison. We were 400. we lost our money. We lost our health, but I cannot lose my children. Everyday nightmares and torture. Anybody touching me I startle. Injuries: broken ribs on the right side, scars on the head not attended medically.
Sudanese refugee, 22 years
I was imprisoned and they beat me on Sunday in Gesr El Suez. I was beaten with a belt by the army. They used me as a carpet on the floor. They released me two weeks later. They beat me once after entering the military prison. They burnt my hand with a lighter. Then a doctor saw me and treated my injury. I didn’t do anything. They said I was a thief but I didn’t do anything. I was going to take the metro to go home. They tied my hands behind my back. Then they put me in a car and took me to the big car. There were Egyptians and Sudanese with me. 6 people were arrested with me. There we found many other Egyptians, adults and children. They were beating elderly men and little children and then they would untie them. When do we leave? They say tomorrow. They took me in a car. There were people whom they whipped with a Sudanese whip and belt and feed them jam. At night there is nothing but beans. They held us in a room that has no light and the window is small and high. Brother: It was curfew. He does not have an ID (Victim is mentally disabled). The army arrested him and beat him with a belt and tied his hands and blindfolded him and his body has many signs of burning. He was not eating while in prison. When he was released he was devastated. He came alone at 3 am.
Graduate working with his father in a shop, Alexandria, 24 years
It was the anger Friday. He was among those who challenged security tanks in Ramla station and was injured in his hand. At 8 pm on Saturday the 29th of January he went to his father’s working place in a Skoda. He was accompanied by his neighbor to deliver a check at the public hospital for a blood transfusion for his mother suffering third degree cancer. As soon as left his car he was arrested by the army although he showed them the check for the blood bag. They took all his belongings, the check, his ID and driving license and 280 pounds which he had on him. “We were 104 people in one room. We were piled on top of each other. They threw water on us all the time. They beat us with sticks that had protrusions like long nails. The next day they took us out to a huge yard. (He was filmed on TV as a thug). He was tortured for 5 days by the army using electric shocks, whips and his back and legs were badly injured. They transported them in a container car.
A man, 40 years old, who was accompanying the previous person
In the container there were soldiers carrying machine guns. They were whipping us during out transfer, especially those who were not blindfolded. We had a 60 years old man with us who was suffering a renal colic. The officer came and told him, you are acting and he ordered the soldiers to beat him. They kept electrocuting him until he died. Then the officer said (literally): take this dog away from here. Then they took us to El Hadra prison. I was in the same ward with 97 people. At least 7 of them died. Our hands and feet were tied and we were all tortured. Soaking us with water, cigarette burns in our naked bodies, beating with sticks and whipping. A man from Libya was tied with us and he died. He was handcuffed to my hand and his body remained for hours, dead next to me. The most brutal was an officer by the name of Hassan. He was swearing at us all the time and was kicking even the dead. Tuesday they brought us ointments and food and told us we were ruled innocent but will not be discharged now or allowed to meet anybody. Thursday night we were all naked. They told us: leave before we beat you again. I grabbed a piece of clothes, shorts, put them on and ran outside. We did not know what was happening during those 13 days.
Architect, 41 years old, married and has three children, from Suez
I was in Tahrir square on Wednesday afternoon. I left the square to go to Nozha street to return to Suez. I took a taxi and as soon as the driver knew I was from Suez he looked upset and drove very fast and handed me over to the army check point nearby. They were in black uniform. He told them, this man is from Suez and he has come to destroy the country. The officer was armed. He pushed me in a police car which had people dressed in black inside. They beat me so brutally that I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness found myself without my clothes (they stole them). I was very tired and they kept transferring me from one place to another while the beating continued with electrified batons all over my body. Again I fainted. People with me in the car told me they thought I was dead because I started snoring and foam was coming out of my mouth and said hide him so that nobody sees him. I woke up in the military intelligence center in front of Tiba Mall in Madinet Nasr. Somebody from the medical center of the air forces said we are in center 75 of the military intelligence. Another detainee carried me and I looked through the window and saw the back wall of the ministry of defense. We were interrogated twice and during the two times I was blindfolded and my hands were tied behind my back.. He asked me, is this the first time you are interrogated by SSI. I asked, are we in SSI? He said yes. He said you look like a member of the Brotherhood. I told him I am an artist and I paint and I cannot be a member of the Brotherhood. He interrogated me for more than an hour and then he said, you have wasted my time and got on my nerves. We shall take you to the detention center. Anybody who knew I was from Suez beat me brutally. They threatened to hand me over to central security who hate people from Suez. They told me, you have absolutely no record here. You are in a no return zone. After each interrogation he would remove my blindfolded a little and make me sign on a paper which I did not read. Saturday they took us to the military prison in the Heikstep. They put us in a freezer car, completely closed, with no air. Our eyes were blindfolded and our hands tied and we were thrown on top of each other. We were 52 people. I know because they called our names. Among us were thugs. In the military prison we saw brutal torture. They received us with something called the “twister”. They made us take off our clothes, except for the slip and told us to sleep face down. They walked over our backs and beat us with whips, electric batons and another type of sticks. They were dressed like Special Forces and the badge said Sa’aeqa. Somebody would whistle and they start the torture, and then whistle again and they would stop for a few minutes.
On the 1st of February I was arrested in Alexandria at 9 p.m. I was documenting events in el Horeyya street and the burned police stations. They were arresting people and taking young people between 15 and 30 years of age putting them in the Alexandria directorate. I was taking pictures when suddenly more than one person, dressed in plainclothes. The area was dark and quiet. We were close to the graveyards. They took me to a place that looked like a school yard. They were joined by other people who pulled me from my shirt and were obscene in their language then started to slap me. I told them you have no right to do that and they said, you still haven’t seen anything. I have never seen so much terror as I have seen there. Brutal beating, people with their hands tied behind their backs and beaten. People were screaming. Torture is a mild description of what was happening there. Until then they had not done it to me but I felt terrified seeing the weapons and the batons in their hands. First they point them at their faces and then they would hit them with the rifle buts in their chests and stomachs. Then an officer came for me. I told him I am a journalist. I don’t belong to any group and I told him you have my papers. He left and spoke to his senior, an officer by the name of Esam. I was still watching the torture and then they came for me. They pulled me from the back of my shirt and said when you write tell people to chant for the army and the people. He hit me in my stomach with the but of his weapon, they tied me from the back, forced me on my knees and beat me and then forced me on the floor and walked over me. The beating was endless. Then they ordered us to stand up without help, but we were tied, so we stumbled. I tried to stand up but fell and bled from my mouth. Then they took me to state security and from there I was released. On the way to state security I discovered that they knew all the popular committees along the way. At SSI they untied my hand and tied them in front of me using my belt. They untied my legs. When they released me I could not walk. I was limping. People on the street took me to Nariman hospital. I submitted a complaint to the press office.
Male university student
We were in a search committee at 5 p.m. searching those joining the protest. A group came and tried to incite a fight. They said leave or else we’ll harm you. The soldiers and the army shot gunfire at about 7 p.m. in the air. I ran. An army officer came and hit me with the rifle but in my chest. They gathered around me and took me to the army. They took me to the SSI building and beat and slapped and kicked me. A young officer came and said, what is happening. I told him I was beaten by the army. He hit me with an electric baton and gave me over to a soldier. I entered through a gate guarded by people in uniform. They asked: why are you here? Then he let us through. They blindfolded me and kicked my in the back of my knee so that I fell. They continued beating me. I felt something heavy hit against my leg. I think it was his rifle again. He kicked me and walked over my back and hit me several times with his boots. I was not talking and was not screaming. They handcuffed me behind my back. I told them I have hemophilia (bleeding blood disease) They brought the electric teaser and electrocuted me in my swollen hands. We were sleeping face down with our legs apart. I felt something burn on my buttocks. Obscenities and terrible verbal abuse. A man came and said, stop beating and they would laugh and continue. This lasted for about two hours. My hands were hurting terribly. A soldier cut the wire that was binding my hands and told me move your hands. The officer saw him and said who untied him? They made me squat and would hit me on my heels and when I fell they hit me on the back. We stood facing the wall…. They put us in the army tank. 27 people thrown on top of each other. I felt my hands were falling off. We arrived at the military police. They asked, what has happened? We said the army has beaten us? They called for a solider who came with a pocket knife and said it is impossible they were the army. He helped me sit up and they treated us very decently. They distributed us over two rooms. The military prosecutor was very aggressive and insulting. He would say, happy with the revolution? Well that is what the revolution has brought you.
Law student, 25 years
Yesterday before the night prayer we found thugs with swords and stones. They were moving the iron barriers. I tried to escape to a side street, but found it blocked, so I returned and hid inside a building and climbed to the roof. We were about 15. we prayed and when we finished we found the army in front of us: soldiers and officers. They took us downstairs. They said we will search you and then you will leave. In front of the ministry of justice there was nobody else. They blindfolded us and took us inside the SSI building. While walking they were electrocuting us. I was also hit with the rifle bit in my stomach. When we arrived inside they told us to sleep face down. They pulled me along the floor and then somebody came from behind and strangulated me his arm. Then they took us inside. They hit us with clubs. Electrocuted us. Hit us with whips. They counted us. We were 15. then they stopped beating because the district leader was passing by. They put us in a tank. Our hands were tied behind our backs. Blindfolded. When we were inside the tank they removed the blindfold. They took the mobile, the shoes, two scarves, the Quran and medical glasses. When we went to the 10th of Ramadan the treatment improved. They gave us each two blankets and distributed us over two room. When I met with the prosecutor I showed him my card which said I was disabled. He told me it looks fake. Injuries: two stitches in the head, wound is infected and swollen. Bruises and swelling of buttocks.
Male, 38 years old (arrested from Lazughli)
The shooting began at 7 pm. We were faced by thugs from the front and the army from the back. We escaped in an entrance of a building and were arrested from there. We were tortured inside Lazughli. Handcuffed behind our backs with plastic and beaten by the army inside SSI headquarters. We were electrocuted by tasers. Beaten and kicked. They would step on our faces and humiliate us. We were then taken while handcuffed into one of the tanks, with enough space for only 6 or 7 people. We were interrogated in the morning. The treatment was much better there. Injuries: Widespread bruises in different parts of the body.
Males, 27 years old, construction worker
The Tahrir protest was peaceful from the 25th of January to the 13th of February. After Mubarak stepped down I rested for two days and returned on the Friday of Victory. Of course the rest of our demands were not met. We were against Shafik and the rest was not implemented yet. On the 25th of February the army attacked us at 2 am. About 300 people holding sticks and tasers beat us without any reason until 4 a.m. We were about 350 people in Tahrir. We were beaten and so were the girls. I was taking pictures because (—-) is a writer and we were recording. I called her at 2.30. She was injured. They held us inside the Development bank. We were all injured and they continued to beat us despite our injuries. Then came an ambulance. Some took it and were not brought back. We spent the night in front of the Nasserite party. In the morning we returned to the square and the protest continued until Tuesday. Then the thugs came, about 100 of them. They had Molotov and empty bottles and iron bars and sticks. They came from Kasr El Aini street. WE ran after them until we forced them to leave. We felt something will happen. We raised banners saying “despite SSI I am a Muslim and love my Coptic brother”. We spent about two hours in Maspero. Then we heard that there is violence in the square. We returned taking the route of the museum. People were pointing at us saying to the army here are the thugs. We were journalists and engineers and university graduates. WE went to the square. After 10 minutes we saw two people standing on the roof of a building pointing at us and other people. Then they started throwing stones. About 300 or 400 people, dressed in black jeans and shirts. We ran after them. One of us got injured. I carried him to the museum. The army was blocking the way and standing with them were thugs. They grabbed the young man I was carrying, about 16 years old and beat him brutally. Then they grabbed me and beat me in the face and back. They kicked me and then took me to the museum. Two soldiers handed me over to the two other solders and they continued beating me. Until now the beating was mostly with their hands. They took my money, my mobile, and a bag with a camera. In the museum they took me through a gate and I found an army officer carrying a weapon. They told me face down —– . “you were chanting against Mubarak? Mubarak us your president you —–. They handcuffed me behind my back with an electric wire. I was screaming. I felt I will lose my hand. He kept hitting me with his boots on my back and head and neck. They took about 15 or 20 of us and took us to another place. They made us lie face down as well and people would come and walk over our backs and kick us with their boots. I saw an old man die in front of my eyes. His tongue protruded and he was saying: Have mercy. I am sick. They would not listen and continued to beat him. We heard somebody say: he died. I heard somebody say: throw him away. They continued beating us for 4 hours with electric sticks, they electrocuted me in sensitive areas and burned me with a heated wire, still marking my back. People were screaming and moaning around us and then they ordered us to stand up. My hands were hurting terrible. We held to each other to be able to stand. We would bite into each others clothes to give us support. Standing up was difficult. They removed the blindfold. We could see a little despite the blindfold. Suddenly we found none of the torturers around us. Only military police. They made us stand in two lines and took pictures of us to look like thugs. Then they took us still blindfolded to busses and they drove to S 28 in Madinet Nasr. Arriving here they lined us up and brought a long table with about 15 huge new knives on it and Molotov bottles. There were army people and military police. They said: you want the president to leave. Well, the president will stay. You think you have made a revolution. I’ll show you what you have been doing so that people know you are thugs….
Male, technician, arrested from Lazoughly
When they started shooting I went to hide in a building. There was a woman with me and two children. We hid on the roof of the building for an hour. Then the army came with flash lights. The children were crying. When we went down an officer told me I know you, you want to be a leader. He pulled my t-shirt and covered my face and handed me over to the soldiers. After we crossed the wire separating the demonstrators from the building they dragged me for 150 meters towards the building. 3 or 4 surrounded me. They would beat me with sticks or their rifle buts or belts and I felt electric shocks. They handcuffed me and I felt I was walking over bodies. They pushed me to the ground and made me lie face down. For an hour and a half. They walked all over our backs and the soldiers hit with the belts and with electric wires. The screaming was terrible. I felt I will dies. I pretended to be dead. They beat me on the head and I kept silent while they were beating. They threw water on my face and removed the t-shirt off my face. One of them told me we shall do more to you. They pulled my trousers down. I screamed, don’t do that. Beat me as much as you want, but do not do that. They said: we shall break you. They did what they did with the barrel of a rifle and a stick several times. This happened to four others. They finished and tightened the handcuffing. They pushed us into the tank, one on top of the other. There was lots of screaming and SOS. They beat more brutally. They took my money and my jacket. We arrived almost dead at the 10th of Ramadan. Examination: Cut wound with 5 stitches in the head, dark bruises on the back, buttocks and legs.
Same testimony by six other males a 38 years old primary school teacher, a 26 years old small factory owner, three students 23, 25 and 38 years old and a computer programmer, 49 years old. Both arrested from Lazoughli, tortured in Lazughli and then taken to military prosecution S 28 in Madinet Nasr.
Male, 19 years old, was living abroad and returned a month ago
Wednesday, about noon time after the German foreign minister left, I found stones being thrown at us in the tents. I looked for a friend of mine to ask him to take pictures. Didn’t find him. So I took the camera and took some shots and then returned to tent. I found my friend and then they attacked us, the army attacked us. I rant towards the entrance of Talaat Harb street. I was arrested by 4 people in plain clothes who took me to the museum. I remained there for 4 hours, until 8.30. They threw us on top of each other while we were handcuffed and blindfolded. Anybody making a sound would be beaten> they were stepping over our bodies. I was beaten on my head, neck and back. Behind the museum there was military police and army, soldiers and officers as well as the 777 brigade, the special forces dressed in dark green. An officer who knows me let me go.
Male, 25 years
Wednesday the day they emptied the square I was in my tent in the central garden. Since 1 p.m. there were thugs who came and attacked us. I was sleeping inside the tent and then I heard a sound and then I found the army inside the tent. They beat me while I was still lying down. When I went out of the tent there were 6 people waiting for me in army uniform. They beat me brutally and I heard somebody say: leave this one. I tried to help a friend but somebody hit me on the head and I lost consciousness. About 6 p.m. (Swelling of the forehead and injury to Tendo Achillis).
Female social worker, single, 29 years old, arrested Wednesday 9 March
I was in Tahrir since the 25th of January. On the 9th of March I was doing some errands to pay the university fees. When I returned to Tahrir at 12 noon there was a counter demonstration: the people want to empty the square. They were shooting in the air. I felt terrified. Some of my friends were taken by the army and were not returned. We suggested that a group of us girls go and look for the boys in the museum. We were 5 at first and then we became more. We were chanting: the people and the army together. They opened the main gate of the museum for us and an officer said: come in. I was beaten and pushed. They told me come in you —- and they used very obscene words. When I went inside I found a young woman crying. She said they electrocuted me and her mobile was taken and broken. She was in a nervous breakdown. They tied my hands behind my back. It was loose and they had to tighten it again and again. Then 8 girls came among them journalists and university students and one of them was a university graduate. Obscene words, prostitutes, that is what they called us. The girls collapsed and began to cry. I started to collapse around sun set. Every while or so an officer would come and tell me I shall squash you. They let the journalists and the university graduates leave. At night the real problems began. I started to argue with them. I told them I want to go home. They took us in a bus and took pictures of us. I was very, very brutally beaten in the bus. They focused on me because I answered back. I spat in their faces. I was pulled like an animal from the bus. I was kicked in front of the general. I would faint, they would throw water on my face and then continue beating. We arrived at Madinet Nasr. I was screaming. We spent the night in the bus. The prison guard stripped us and was beating us with hoses. She said “girls will be examined”, women won’t. I was examined for my virginity by a man wearing a white coat and a female prison guard. The prosecution came to prison. I was interrogated by the prosecution Friday evening at 10 p.m.
Male, 26 yrs old, arrested 9thof March from Tahrir
On Wednesday a friend of ours was taken to the museum. We did not know why they took him. He is a very peaceful person and was always trying to stay out of trouble. That day the situation was quite violent and there were thugs in the square throwing stones. I went with a friend and a journalist to look for him. We didn’t understand what was going on. I was in charge of the square security and the army knew me. We approached the museum and chanted the people and the army are one. Suddenly they took the girls to one side and dragged me to the opposite direction, beating me all the way from the huge gate to the smaller internal gate. Inside I found bodies all over the floor. More than 100 people. I have never seen anything like this. I was beaten with every possible thing, clubs, stick, whip, hose, an electric wire. I was totally ruined that day. They blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back. They were beating us with anger and hatred. They said we were ruining the country, we’ve been on the streets for 40 days, we didn’t have a day’s holiday. They were very obscene. The officer would tell the soldiers mind you we are permitted 50% losses. If somebody dies he can go to hell. They were inciting soldiers against us. They forced us face down on the floor and said we were carrying Molotov and weapons. WE didn’t have anything. We are all educated. And if I did have anything I would not have taken it with me. At night they took us in busses. We were about 173 men and about 30 girls. We went to a place called the army compound. They took pictures of us there and then they took us to a desert and kept us in the busses. We slept in the busses. Next morning they took us to the military prison. I had cancer lung and had an operation when I was 14 and have removed two of my ribs. I was not taken into the prison because when the doctor saw the scar of the operation, he said: not this one. I was about to leave but then I had an argument with an officer so he kept me in the bus. From Wednesday to Friday no food, no water, no bathroom. I left on Friday afternoon. I used to admire the army very much. Now I hate the uniform. They dropped me on the ring road. The prison is in the Heikstep. I was wearing slippers and then lost them. They tied me with my jacket. They broke my phone. I was only in my shorts. They would mock me: do you think you are on the beach. They pushed us on tope of each other as if we were “things”. Somebody was dying. He was saying his prayers. I shall never forget his face. They filmed us for the media and portrayed us as thugs, as bad people. My brother martyred on the 28th of January, my half brother. He was 12 years old and was shot in the chest and I was shot in my leg.
رامي عصام اعتقله الجيش اثناء فض اعتصام التحرير بالقوة و بالاستعانة ببلطجية, يوم 9 مارس 2011. أخلي سبيل رامي بعد بضع ساعات, بعد ان تعرض لاعتداءات و تعذيب مروع من قبل الجيش.
Ramy Essam detained by the army on March 9th when the Armed Forces forcibly dispersed the sit-in at Tahrir Square, and with the aid of thugs. HE was released a few hours later after getting severely beaten up & tortured. (Scroll down for English translation of his testimony)
رامي عصام كان وجه مألوف لكل معتصمي ميدان التحرير و اشتهر بلقب “مغني الثورة” بعد ما غنى هتافات الثورة في و
رددها معه كل من اعتصم في ميدان التحرير
شهادة رامي عصام:
أنا اسمي رامي عصام، 23 سنة
كنت موجود في ميدان التحرير مع بقية المعتصمين والمتظاهرين يوم الأربعاء 9 مارس وفي حوالي الساعة 5 ونصف فوجئنا بهجوم قوات من الجيش ومعهم مجموعة كبيرة من المدنيين المسلحين بالشوم والطوب على الاعتصام، قاموا سويًا بتكسير الخيم وتقطيع اللافتات وضرب كل من بداخل الصينية بالعصي وبدأوا بإعتقال المتظاهرين. تم سحبي على يد مجموعة من جنود الجيش ناحية المتحف وتسليمي إلى ظباط اللذين قاموا بتقييد يدي ورجلي وبدأوا بركلي في كل جسمي ووجهي ثم ضربي بالعصي والسيوخ والمواسير الحديدة والاسلاك والخراطيم على ظهري ورجلي، ثم أتوا بالصاعق الكهربي اللذي يستخدم في المظاهرات وقاموا بصعقي في اماكن مختلفة في جسمي في البداية بجهاز واحد ثم باكثر من جهاز في نفس الوقت. كان الظباط يسبوني ويقفذون على ظهري ويدوسون ويقفذون على وجهي بالأحذية. ثم قاموا بقص شعري (فكان طويلا) وأخيرًا قاموا بوضع وجهي في التراب ثم ردم جسمي بالتراب.
Ramy Esam, 23 years,
I was in Tahrir square with the rest of the protesters on the 9th of March. At about 5 p.m. we were attacked by army forces with huge numbers of civilians carrying clubs and throwing stones at the protest. They broke down the tents, tore down the banners and hit everybody in the garden with sticks and started arresting people. I was pulled by a group of army soldiers towards the museum and was handed over to officers who tied my hands and feet and started kicking me all over my body and face as well as hit me with sticks and iron bars and hoses on my back and legs. Then they brought an electric taser which they use in demonstrations and electrocuted me in different parts of my body. First they used one such instrument and then they brought several and used it on different parts of my body at the same time. The officers were swearing and jumping on my back and throwing shoes at my face. Then they cut my hair which was much longer and put my face in the dust and threw dust over my body.
The Slaughterhouse of Tahrir
(Formerly Known As The Egyptian Museum)
To all those companions of the long journey who have now given up Tahrir square to the NDP, the Security Service thugs, and the Armed Forces. To all those companions of the long journey who left the protest to form their political parties and who are forming plans from the comfort of their offices and apartments, to finish the revolution while they are lying in their beds. To all those comrades who dared to dream of a demonstration that brought together ten thousand Egyptians and were graced instead with twenty million. Twenty million who took to the streets and vowed that they would finish this battle if it cost them their last breath. And in return, we left them to face, alone, the brutality of soldiers and then tyranny of the old regime.
To you, I give this testimony:
From the dawn of Wednesday the protesters began to sense the intention of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to break up the protests using the same methods which the Security Services had previously employed. Planting thugs within the protesters to create conflict, to divert attention from the main struggle into petty disagreements: whether women should be allowed to spend the night in the square, the morals of the protesters and their intentions and so on. And on that day, the thugs began to move in to the square publicly, attacking with large balls of straw lit on fire, Molotov cocktails and the like. The protesters held them off successfully, and began again the procedure of guarding the entrances of to the square. These attacks continued to escalate throughout the day, and and the Armed Forces were forced to put an end to them by force.
We would never have thought that the Armed Forces would organise an attack on the protesters, and we were not sure that the army was involved in the activities of the thugs, but what we saw affirmed to us that after the failure of the thugs to remove us from the square, the army decided to do the job themselves and without hiding behind anyone else.
A large number of soldiers attacks simultaneously with a group of thugs as though it were a carefully prepared plan. Our brave soldiers invading and beating violently all who came across their path and the thugs clearing the ground by destroying the tents and temporary shelters. After they were done with their sacred duty to protect the fatherland, they began to spread out from the square in an orgainsed , almost mechanical fashion, and the thugs began to finger for them specific protesters. The soldiers began to arrest them, while the thugs continued to beat anyone they could lay their hands on. Following on the advice of many of my friends I decided to leave the square. With me were some friends, among them Ismail Gamal Abdel Fattah. As we approached the xit along Bab El Luq street we were followed by a group of thugs, who pointed at us and shouted at the army officials: “These! These are the people who were inciting people to protest!”
And with a mob hysteria that reminded us of the hysteria that ensues when they catch a thief in the popular market they drove us to the slaughterhouse as blows rained down on our heads from all directions. When we reached the base of the Armed Forces which was located beside the Egyptian Museum, the brave soldiers of the Armed Forces were ready for us. Large numbers of them beating all who crossed their path, and, as I approached, the officers said to me, “So you finally showed up! You have been driving us crazy for the past two weeks! Get your ass over here.” It was at this point that one of them took me and tied my hands to the rail of the Museum for what seemed to be forever.
Throughout the whole length of time, which turned out to be four hours, I was subjected to the worse kind of psychological and emotional pressure. The officers with whom we had clashed before on that first Friday of the sit-in, passed by, one by one, in order to take their revenge on me. One of them said to me, “I am a faggot for letting you go on Friday and you will see right now what I am going to do to you.” Another said: “Those whores who are left running around the streets to cause us problems are going to be confined to their houses again.” A third: “Did you really think we were just going to let you run the country?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said to one of them: “Are you the army or the Security Service? Weren’t you the guys who were all ‘the people and the army are one’?” And he mocked me saying: “We’re the new Security Services.”
Things continued this way until I became the main source of entertainment for those noble men of the Armed Forces, until a high ranking officer with the military police showed up and I said to him: “I am a journalist. And we didn’t make this revolution to overthrow Pharaoh so that we would have to contend with an army of Pharaohs.” But all he did was laugh and say to his men: “Show this girl a good time.” And then he added: “These whores will never manners.” I yelled at him: “Watch your tongue, and don’t overstep your bounds.”
He said to me, “You want to see my bounds? Come inside and see what we are doing to the young men we have captured.” I had in fact been hearing screams from an inside hall, which seemed to be functioning as a torture chamber. I later found out they forced the young men out of their clothes and then subjected them to all kinds of torture from being thrown against the floor, to being blindfolded, to beatings, to flogging, to being electrocuted, as though they were prisoners of war.
I was not the only person whom they insulted like this. Even the doctors were not exempt, the doctors who came to treat those who had been injured in the struggle. One of them, a woman, said: “I am a doctor.” She was answered by an officer: “A doctor who came to treat these faggots and whores, damn you and your degree and the idiots who gave it to you.” Another girl, from the rural province of Qina and with a peasant accent just happened to be in the square at the time and was subjected to the worst kinds of humiliation. She had no idea why this was happening to her. Another girl, a university student, who was helping to check the crowd for weapons and searching the ladies who were entering the protest, kept on shouting slogans against the army until an officer came in and slapped her across the face. He took her far away, and I only saw her later in the military police station in a state which would not have pleased even her enemy.
Aly Sobhy, the talented actor, and member of the Haala theatre troupe at the Rawabit theatre, was standing outside the Museum. He came to check if his friends were ok, only to find himself among those same friends and subjected like them to intense torture.
All those, and 177 other men, and 17 other women, face military court and sentencing after the army has declared them thugs. They did this without even checking their identities and I was meant to be among them, were it not for my pure luck in being a journalist which meant I was released among a group of journalists.
We have to bring to the attention of the public the existence of the slaughterhouse behind the Egyptian Museum, where the worst kinds of torture are being practiced, in the same way that the Security Services practiced torture, if not worse.