Egyptian Military 'Disappearing People'

Human rights groups report torture, unexplained detentions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2011 12:30 PM CST
Egyptian army soldiers are seen with their tanks positioned near the monument to the unknown soldier in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

(Newser) – Egypt’s military may not be quite the white knight it’s sometimes made out to be. Over the past three weeks, the military has played a role in dozens of disappearances and at least 12 cases of torture, human rights groups tell the New York Times. “The military is detaining people incommunicado, which is illegal, and so it is effectively disappearing people,” said one Human Rights Watch representative.

The cases don’t seem to be “systematic,” the man said, but “it is enough to set off alarm bells and call for an investigation.” Meanwhile, some scholars, economists, and businessmen worry that the army can’t be trusted to foster an open economy, instead protecting its own vast array of businesses—which make everything from televisions to olive oil to bottled water. As it purges corrupt officials from the government, the military has already pushed out a number seen as advocates of freer markets.

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