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Leaked cables: Police brutality a ‘daily occurrence’ in Egyptian prisons

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Leaked diplomatic cables released by secrets outlet WikiLeaks show that Egyptian police regularly torture suspects due to “unrelenting pressure” from their superiors to solve criminal investigations.

The revealing documents were published amid mass protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year regime.

During the fierce protests, Egyptians targeted police stations, with one in Suez being ransacked mid-Friday. Protesters freed prisoners and destroyed vehicles in a direct challenge to the country’s ruling regime.

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In one leaked cable, an Egyptian human rights activist, whose name was redacted by WikiLeaks, said the US government’s number one human rights priority in Egypt should be urging the government of Egypt to combat the use of torture by its police force.

Although Article 42 of Egypt’s constitution prohibits the infliction of “physical or moral harm” upon persons who have been arrested or detained, the human rights activist told US diplomats that police torture was pervasive. He blamed the Interior Ministry of Egypt for putting pressure on officers to extract confessions “by any means necessary.”

During murder investigations police regularly round up 40 to 50 suspects from a neighborhood and hang them by their arms until they obtain a confession from someone, according to the cable.

Another leaked cable notes that “credible human rights lawyers believe police brutality continues to be a pervasive, daily occurrence in [Egyptian] detention centers, and that [the State Security Investigative Service] has adapted to increased media and blogger focus on police brutality by hiding the abuse and pressuring victims not to bring cases.”

“[Non-governmental organizations] assess prison conditions to be poor, due to overcrowding and lack of medical care, food, clean water, and proper ventilation,” the cable continues.

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When confronted about the human rights violations by Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner in January of 2010, Interior Ministry State Security Director Rahman denied that any abuse occurred, saying that “in the past ten years” there has been “no abuse of prisoners at all.”

Rahman claimed that human rights organizations were dominated by “communists and extremists” that wanted to weaken the government of Egypt because it had distanced itself from the Soviet Union in the 1970’s.

A 2009 human rights report on Egypt published by the US State Department noted that police in Egypt used unwarranted lethal force and tortured prisoners during investigations. The report also said that police in Egypt arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals, sometimes for political purposes, and kept them imprisoned for long periods of time without a trial.

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The Egyptian human rights activist described in the leaked cable said that the pervasive nature of torture began when police were fighting Islamic extremists in the 1990’s.


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Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?

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The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.

"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"

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‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds

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On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.

"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."

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Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first

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Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.

After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.

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