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Egypt 'fabricated terror group'
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC News

BBC News, December 11, 2007
Posted: December 17th, 2007

A US-based human rights group has accused the Egyptian government of using torture and false confessions in a high-profile anti-terrorism case. Twenty-two alleged members of an unknown Islamist group, the Victorious Sect, were accused of planning attacks on tourism sites and gas pipelines. Human Rights Watch says its research suggests the security forces may have fabricated the group's name. It reports claims the case was used to justify renewing emergency laws. The BBC's Ian Pannell in Cairo says this is just the latest in a run of accusations by human rights organisations against Egypt's police and state security apparatus. The authorities' claims made headlines in April 2006 when they said they had smashed a previously unheard-of terrorist group plotting a series of attacks against soft targets including tourists and Coptic Christian clerics. "Beyond coerced confessions, there appears to be no compelling evidence to support the government's dramatic claims," HRW says. "Indeed, it appears that SSI (state security investigations) may have fabricated the allegations made against at least some and possibly all of them," its report says. Detainees quoted by HRW said they had been beaten and kicked by their interrogators, and some were given electric shocks on their bodies, including their genitals. A spokesperson for the organisation said the case was not unusual, but was part of a pattern of detention and torture by the Egyptian security services in order to obtain false confessions. The "Victorious Sect" arrests came to light shortly before Egypt renewed its enduring and controversial emergency laws, which give sweeping powers of detention to the security forces.

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