GAZA CITY (AFP) — The Islamist movement Hamas accused Egypt on Thursday of torturing dozens of its militants who have been arrested and detained after crossing from the Gaza Strip.
A Hamas official said 39 militants are currently being held in Egypt, while 90 others have been released in recent weeks.
"The Hamas prisoners suffered all sorts of torture. Those who have been freed have given accounts of being tortured and of interrogations, which have nothing to do with the security of Egypt," said the official, on condition of anonymity.
Most entered Egypt in January along with hundreds of thousands of people who crossed the frontier after militants breached a border wall near the Rafah crossing.
The fate of the prisoners has been discussed in recent meetings between Egyptian officials and Hamas representatives in the Egyptian town of El-Arish.
"Hamas has expressed its dissatisfaction over the continuing detentions of dozens of Palestinians in Egyptian prisons and denounces the torture which has been inflicted on them," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP.
"Egypt has promised to release them and I hope this can be done as quickly as possible," he said.
One of the Islamic movement's leaders in Gaza, Said Siam, said in an interview on a website sympathetic to the movement that he "deeply regrets that dozens of Palestinians are still being held in Egyptian prisons."
He said he had "reliable information" that among those being held were "certain heads of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades (the armed branch of Hamas) who have been subjected to the most extreme torture".
He said Egyptian interrogators had questioned the prisoners about the possible location of Isreali soldier Gilad Shalit, missing since his June 2006 abduction near Gaza, as well as the movements of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »