This is a translation of the testimony written by Muhammad Mosa originally published here
The person in this picture - that is myself – is the same person in this video, at 1:25 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5GSfSRY2PQ
I will start with reference to the kind treatment we received from the unit 28 military prosecution, as well as the respect and grace with which we were treated on the morning of the 26th of February when we were transferred to the military police administration. To be honest the Major General running the military police administration, and fellow officers and individuals were all very generous, and treated us like guests and not criminals.
And an extra thanks to the Major General for paying special attention to our cases – those who were beaten and assaulted the dawn of that very day – and taking me and a friend to Kobry El Qubba hospital in the company of an Officer to help with the ex-rays and check-ups and ensure our safety himself. They sent the rest back to Tahrir in a microbus at the same time.
Right before the Sit-in was dispersed…
We were a little less than 150 people that night. At around 11:30 in the evening of the 25th of February, army soldiers formed a cordon around us without violations; one of my friends thinks this might have been their way of kettling us and making sure our numbers don’t grow around the ministerial cabinet. They dismantled their human cordon at 15 minutes past midnight of the 26th of February. At around that time we started hearing news of the sit-in in Tahrir being violently dispersed. And at around 1:30 am that very night, the army started using electric batons to disperse the sit-in and of-course we ran. They continued to push, beat and kick at us, until they managed to disperse us.
And then I was arrested…
As I ran, I came across a fallen protestor, and stopped to check on him. An officer grabbed me and started to push and beat at me and I said to him “Don’t hit! Just arrest me!” And he replied “Come here ya ruh ummak” , and they pulled me into a garage in the ministerial cabinet; and this is where the physical and moral torture began.
In the ministerial cabinet’s garage…
I was shocked at the numbers of army personnel beating up protestors in the garage. At first I thought these must have been thugs, but before I had a chance to finish the thought, I was pulled very roughly and ordered to squat on the ground. With that they started to kick at every part of my body; I tried to cover my face to protect it, but one of the officers pulled my arm away and stepped on my face pushing it to the ground, while they tied my hands behind my back. They – Lieutenants, First Lieutenants and a row of officers and soldiers - then proceeded to kick at my face as if my head were a soccer-ball.
Others around me were much worse off. One was stripped bare in the cold and sprayed with water and beaten, while another was beaten until his shoulder was dislocated, while others were electrocuted with the electric batons. One protestor called out to declare he had a heart condition; and they shouted back at him to ask what he was doing in a protest if he had such a condition, as they proceeded to pull his hand away from his heart, and kick him where it was.
Twice we heard what sounded like a high-ranking officer giving an order to end the beating “No one hit any of them anymore!”. But as soon as he would leave, the beating would start again; it was difficult to tell if they really weren’t following orders, or if the whole thing was just theatrical. For the beating never ceased.
What was said in the Garage…
What was worse than the beating and the insults, were the accusations that the officers and military personnel were throwing at us while we were in there. When I first got in they played the old reel of accusations related to treachery and our being spies; I could even hear an officer shout as he beat a protestor “And you’re getting 50 Euros to insult president Mubarak ya ruh ummak?!”. And while we were all hearing variations of this, each of us was specifically asked to say “Long live Hosni Mubarak”, and those who refused got a fresh course of beating. It was clear to us that they didn’t think they were dealing with thugs, but believed they were dealing with paid security threats.
And one of the personal violations that I could note is their occasional calling out that “We’re in Abu Ghareeb here” , as they piled protestors un-top of each other and beat them.
There was one Officer amongst the lot however that was kind to me, and often rough to my perpetrators; all thanks to my mothers’ prayers! He answered my phone when it rang (though never gave any useful information) and ensured that I got all my things back as I was leaving – thankfully I didn’t loose anything.
Who was in the Ministerial Cabinet’s Garage..
We were a little more than ten people beaten and tortured in the garage. There was one person I was sure was a thug, but he was being treated like a spy. And one seemed to be someone who ran away from the army, but he was only insulted. The rest were all, truly protestors (revolutionaries).
There was another group of around (or a little less than) 17 people arrested from the sit-in in Tahrir square; and I can say that 5 of them were really thugs. This group didn’t seem to have been beaten or tortured (not even the thugs) but they had been electrocuted with the electric batons.
Questions that continue to haunt me…
Was what happened truly on account of ‘irresponsible elements’ in the army as it claimed in the official apology? Or was it intended to get a message across? Or are they the infiltrated minority in the army?
Was this on account of orders from higher army ranks? If so, will they be held accountable?
Breaking the curfew shouldn’t warrant any torture of beating; which there is never any justification for anyway… then why did this happen?
Does what happened mean there’s some sort of split within the army ranks? That there are some that have stakes in the old regime and want it to survive through Mubarak or someone else?
Why is the army so keen on the 6-month transitional period; when there is a call for the development of a presidential council with civilian representatives to lead the state through a year-long transitional period?