Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Egypt's crackdown on Islamists brings most arrests in decades

CAIRO — Egypt's crackdown on Islamists has jailed 16,000 people over the past eight months in the country's biggest roundup in nearly two decades, the Associated Press reported Sunday, citing unnamed security officials.

At the same time, rights activists say reports of abuses in prisons are mounting, with prisoners describing systematic beatings and miserable conditions for dozens packed into tiny cells.

The Egyptian government has not released official numbers for those arrested in the sweeps since the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July. But four senior officials gave the Associated Press a count of 16,000, including about 3,000 top- or mid-level members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

The count includes hundreds of women and minors, though the officials could not give exact figures. The officials gave the numbers on condition of anonymity because the government has not released them.

The flood of arrests has swamped prisons and the legal system. Many are held for months in police station lockups meant as temporary holding areas or in impromptu jails set up in police training camps because prisons are overcrowded. Inmates are kept for months with no charges.

Rights activists say torture — by Egypt's legal definition — is not standard practice, though they have received reports of electric shocks being used to punish detainees. More widely spread, they said, are beatings, sleep deprivation, verbal abuse, threats of rape and denying inmates basic items like bedding, blankets, newspapers and exercise.

The arrests are the most since the 1990s, when Hosni Mubarak's security forces jailed at least 20,000 people, mostly Islamists, while battling a bloody militant insurgency.

Egypt's crackdown on Islamists brings most arrests in decades 03/16/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2014 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Girl says her mom asked for forgiveness before stabbing her

    Crime

    ATLANTA — Everyone was asleep when Isabel Martinez began stabbing her children and then fatally stabbed her husband as he tried seek help, her daughter told a child welfare caseworker.

    In a  July 7 file photo, Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance, in Lawrenceville , Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. [AP Photo/John Bazemore, File]
  2. McCain says 'I'll be back soon' as he battles brain cancer

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Battling brain cancer, Sen. John McCain on Thursday promised to return to work, making a good-natured dig at his Republican and Democratic colleagues who were jolted by news of the six-term lawmaker's diagnosis.

    Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor after a blood clot was removed. [Associated Press]
  3. Fire on neighbor's porch leads to charges against Holiday man

    Crime

    HOLIDAY — A Holiday man was arrested Wednesday after authorities say he torched the front porch of his neighbor, who he insisted was holding his daughter hostage.

    Dan Fry, 63, of Holiday was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree arson. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  4. Port Richey man solicited sex from 13-year-old, Pasco authorities say

    Crime

    PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday after Pasco County authorities say he solicited sex from a 13-year-old boy on the gay male dating app Grindr.

    Shawn Daly, 43, of Port Richey was charged with solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]