U.S. Must Push for End to Torture in Egyptian Prisons
WASHINGTON, DC — Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was reportedly killed yesterday in a U.S. drone strike almost 21 years after the 9/11 attacks. Zawahiri is believed to have turned to violent extremism after being tortured in Egyptian prisons in the 1980s.
“Torture drives prisoners into the hands of ISIS, providing a steady stream of fresh recruits for violent extremism,” said Human Rights First’s Senior Advisor Brian Dooley. “If the U.S. government wants to stop Egypt producing more Zawahiris, it should stop rewarding Egypt’s violent dictatorship with weapons and political support until Cairo stops the torture of prisoners and implements other human rights reforms.”
The path from abuse to radicalization continues in Egypt’s jails, as Human Rights First detailed in reports “Like Fire In A Forest” in 2019 and “Creating Time Bombs” from 2021.
Human Rights First calls on the U.S. government to do more to bring to an end such abuses by Egypt, its military ally. The United States must seek accountability for the perpetrators of torture to have credibility on issues of human rights.