Video: Egyptian soldiers abuse suspected jihadists
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The footage shows an Egyptian soldier hurling abuse at a prisoner and beating him – despite the fact that the prisoner is blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back. A group of Sinai activists have been sharing this shocking video, which is further proof of the human rights abuses occurring within the Egyptian army’s fight against jihadist groups in the Sinai peninsula.
The short video, which lasts two and a half minutes, starts by showing an Egyptian soldier yelling at a prisoner, who is only seen from behind.
The soldier says: “Why are you calling us unbelieving sons of b*****s? You’re the unbeliever, you son of a b****!”
Then, the soldier hits the prisoner several times, all the while continuing to yell at him: “You kill our comrades and you are calling us unbelievers?”
WARNING: These images may shock viewers
Around 1’05”, another soldier joins in. He spins the prisoner around and admonishes him for growing a beard, then hits him on the chin. At this point in the video, you can hear voices of people offscreen calling for the soldiers to stop hitting the prisoner.
More than two years ago, the Egyptian army launched a massive campaign against Wilayat Sinaï, a jihadist group located in northern Sinai that is affiliated with the Islamic State group. Wilayat Sinaï is the group that claimed responsibility for downing the Russian passenger plane that crashed in the Sinai peninsula on October 31, killing all 200 people on board.
The video was published on Facebook by Sinaï24, a group of activists. Mustapha A. (not his real name) is one of them.
"This isn't the first time the Egyptian army has been known to cross the line"
This video was given to us by an Egyptian soldier who had finished his military service in the Sinai peninsula. The person in question had already sent us other videos showing abuses committed by the Egyptian army in both barracks and detention centres in Sinai.
Our source told us that the video was filmed about a year ago and that the two soldiers in the video have already finished their military service. We haven’t managed to identify them.
The video was filmed inside a military vehicle, probably near the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Just south of there, El Gorah is the site of an important military base that the Egyptian army uses to launch military operations against jihadist groups in the region.
This isn’t the first time that the Egyptian army has been known to cross the line during its anti-jihad operations in Sinai. In November, a photo was widely circulated on social media. The image showed the head of the El Gorah base, Colonel Mohammed Haroon, standing proudly next to a prisoner who was only wearing underwear and who had been attached to an armoured car. The colonel was never held accountable, since he died a few days later in combat.
In the past few months, several other testimonies from Sinai have surfaced. These witnesses allege that Egyptian security forces not only torture prisoners, but are behind forced disappearances. In October 2014, the Observers Team covered another incident wherein soldiers tortured two young men near El Gorah.