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Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Incident: Ahmed Agiza renditioned to Egypt

Today, Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery will be transported from Bromma airport, Stockholm, to Egypt. On 27 April 2004, Ahmed Agiza will be convicted and sentenced to 15 years for terrorism. During the trial, Agiza will allege that he was tortured. According to a HRW Report into renditions to Egypt, the trial of Agiza was patently unfair.
  • A prison doctor was assigned to inspect him, who confirmed that he had sustained physical injuries while in prison. However, his request that he be examined by an independent forensics expert, who could determine if he had been tortured, was denied.
  • Agiza admitted that he had been a member of al-Jihad al-Islami, but insisted that he did not support the use of violent means to achieve the goal of an Islamic state, and that his views had appeared in the London-based pan-Arab press at the time. `Agiza claimed that he left the group over the question of violence, and that other members of the group left with him. In order to establish that he had indeed left the organisation, and that his views were in fact non-violent, `Agiza's defense team wanted to call to the stand journalists who had interviewed him over the years. The court refused every defence request to allow witnesses to give testimony that contested the government's charges.
It was also claimed during a December 10, 2004, radio broadcast of Ekot Programme (transcript on file with Human Rights Watch) that he was left chained and blindfolded for 10 days, during which he was forced to urinate and defecate on himself. He also alleged that he was made to lick food off the prison floor.

According to a summary of the parents' testimony following a 23 January 2002 visit:

[`Agiza] seemed pale, weak, seemingly in shock and near breakdown. His eyes, cheeks, and feet were allegedly swollen, with his nose larger than usual and bloodied. He told [sic] that he had been tied and hung upside down while transported to the prison, and then being constantly blindfolded and subjected to advanced methods of interrogation, including electric shocks. He said he was told the guarantees provided to the Swedish government were worthless.

According to a summary of the parents' testimony following a 16 April 2003 visit:

He allegedly whispered to his mother that he had been further tortured by electric shocks after the January visit, and held in solitary confinement for about ten days. His arms and legs were tied behind his back and he could not relieve himself. He said he had told the Swedish Ambassador about the torture, and that prison officers had urged him to decline further visits from the Ambassador. He stated that officers had told him his wife would be returned soon, and they threatened to assault her and his mother sexually. He said he remained in solitary confinement, in a cell measuring two square meters, without windows, heat or light and that, while not tied, he could only visit the toilet once every 24 hours, which caused him kidney problems.

Agiza before his detention.

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