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Egypt's crackdown on Morsi supporters called worse than Mubarak era

CAIRO — In the two months since Egyptian authorities started rounding up supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a repressive regime has emerged that appears to be worse than the one political activists thought they had ended when they pushed Hosni Mubarak from office 2½ years ago.

Egyptians caught in the roundup have told McClatchy they were tortured while awaiting charges. Islamist leaders claim that the government is rounding up family members in the night as leverage against them. Lawyers tasked with representing arrested Morsi supporters often are arrested when they go to be with their clients during prison interrogations.

A woman who was arrested the same day her husband was seized saw torture chambers that made her wish that her husband would simply be shot, McClatchy reported. The woman asked not to be identified for fear she would be arrested again.

She said in a telephone interview that she was detained for two weeks, and said she had been mistreated but not tortured.

Not just Morsi supporters have been arrested. A growing number of journalists and human rights advocates also have been detained, leaving fewer eyes to document what's happening.

Ahmed Helmi, a human rights lawyer who represents many of those arrested, estimated that as many as 10,000 people have been arrested since the military deposed Morsi on July 3. That's far more than human right groups' estimates of 3,000. Diplomatic officials told McClatchy the number could be 5,000.

Morsi has spoken by telephone with his family twice in recent days, their first contacts since he was detained by the military, his lawyer told the Associated Press.

The lawyer, Mostafa Atteyah, told the news agency that the first call took place last week and the second one two days later, and that Morsi had said he was in good health. The report gave no dates for either call, and Atteyah did not respond to phone calls. Morsi's family has not spoken publicly for a month.

Egypt's crackdown on Morsi supporters called worse than Mubarak era 09/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 11:32pm]
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