Editorial: The Old Rock 25.02.11

From the Human Rights Watch report on torture in Egypt, published last month, the testimony of Nasr al-Sayed Nassan Nasr, who was detained in March last year by State Security Investigations officers:

They started with the beating. They beat me on the face and on the back. They stripped me of my clothes, took the handcuffs off and tied my hands behind my back with a blanket so hard that I felt my arms were going to be dislocated. Then they started the electro-shocks. Two officers applied the device all over my body. In the next days, they continued using the electricity but this time they tied me to a bed, naked. I was surrounded by five officers – one beating me, two using the electric shocks, another insulting me. They applied it everywhere in my body: on the soles of my feet and my legs, my arms and my chest, my armpits, in my sensitive parts so that they became completely swollen because they focused on them so much. They hadn’t asked me a single question at this stage. They seemed to just want me to collapse. The next day they made me [stand up] for 40 hours. If I leant against the wall they would beat me. If I tried to bend down they would beat me.

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The departure of Graham Johnston, the SIC’s head of finance, will be a grave blow to the authority and to Shetland. Not only did he stay calm while all around him was chaos, but he manifestly did understand the seriousness of the situation. His reports and advice were models of clarity and good sense. Councillors will miss him as he goes off to spend more time with classic cars, and so will we.


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