Fighting for Their Rights

Abuse and torture inside Egyptian police detention centers are all too familiar. Last year, for example, 11 members of a family were taken in for questioning about a murder; the men were allegedly hung by their legs and given electric shocks while the women say they were urinated on, beaten, and had their clothes torn off as police officers took turns lying on top of them, simulating rape.

Such abuses were long resistant to cries from local and international human-rights activists. In 1989, psychiatrist Aida Seif El Dawla decided the situation had to change. She and a few...

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