CAIRO - Egyptian security agents have abducted and tortured "at least several hundred people," some as young as 14, in an unprecedented spike in enforced disappearances aimed at silencing opponents, Amnesty International asserted in a report published on Wednesday.
The report, based on 70 interviews with former detainees, families of detainees, lawyers and others, said enforced disappearances had spiked since the appointment of Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar in early 2015, with an average of three or four people reported disappeared every day.
"Enforced disappearance has become a key instrument of state policy in Egypt. Anyone who dares to speak out is at risk, with counter-terrorism being used as an excuse to abduct, interrogate and torture people who challenge the authorities," Philip Luther, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said in a statement that accompanied the report.
Amnesty said the nature of the enforced disappearances made it difficult to give a precise number, but that reports by Egyptian non-governmental organizations and rights groups indicated there had been "at least several hundred cases" since the beginning of 2015.