Morsi's opponents reveal 'abuse' by president's Islamist supporters
Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi's political opponents have reportedly revealed the abuses they were subjected to by his Islamist supporters, saying that they were beaten and detained for hours together.
A dozens of Morsi's political opponents claimed that they were held for hours with their hands bound on the pavement outside the presidential palace, and pressurized to confess that they had accepted money to use violence in protests against him.
Yehia Negm, 42, a former diplomat, with a badly bruised face and rope marks on his wrists, said it was 'torment' for them. He said he was among a group of about 50, including four minors, who were detained on the pavement overnight, the New York Times reports.
"It was torment for us. In front of cameras, they accused me of being a traitor, or conspiring against the country, of being paid to carry weapons and set fires. I thought I would die," Negm said.
According to the report, the abuses have become clear through an accumulation of video footage and victim testimonies that are now inflicting a serious blow to the credibility of Morsi and his Islamist allies as they push forward to this weekend's referendum on an Islamist-backed draft constitution.
A spokesman for Morsi said that he has ordered an investigation into the reported abuses and asked the prosecutor to bring charges against any involved. The spokesman, Khaled el-Qazzaz, also said that Morsi was referring only to confessions obtained by the police, not by his supporters, the report said.
However, a human rights lawyers involved in the cases of the roughly 130 people who ended up in police custody, all or most of them delivered by the Islamists, say the police obtained no confessions, he added.
"His statement was completely bogus. There were no confessions; they were all just simply beaten up," he said. "There was no case at all, and they were released the next day," said Karim Medhat Ennarah, a researcher on policing at Egyptian Initiative on Personal Rights.