The Army's Makeshift Jail

by Patrick Appel

Peter Bouckaert of HRW reports:

The situation at the Northern HQ of the army in Alexandria is very tense. The army has used the HQ as a detention center for all of the suspected looters and other troublemakers handed over to them by the neighborhood security committees since Friday. This is an unfamiliar role for the army, and they are clearly at a loss as to what to do. Many of the detainees are probably innocent, just caught in the wrong neighborhood without identification.

... The army is in a difficult position, as it has no evidence of wrongdoing by most of the detainees and no judicial system to process or release them. But they are the only functioning security institution. At the very least, the army should publish a complete list of the detainees and allow lawyers to visit them and ensure they are properly treated. And they should release the innocent as soon as possible.