The torture in custody of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and activist who rose to fame during the 2011 uprising, as well as the mistreatment of his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, are chilling illustrations of the ruthless tactics the Egyptian authorities are prepared to use to silence critics, said Amnesty International today.

Following his arrest on 29 September during the authorities’ latest crackdown, Alaa Abdel Fattah was transferred to Egypt’s notorious Tora maximum security prison 2, known as al-Aqrab 2 – where prison officers blindfolded him, stripped him of his clothing, beat and kicked him repeatedly, and subjected him to threats and verbal abuse.

One police officer told him prison was “made for people like you”, adding that he would be in prison for the rest of his life. A National Security Agency officer warned he would face further torture if he reported the abuse.

“Alaa Abdel Fattah’s torture in custody illustrates the Egyptian authorities’ use of extreme brutality to crush dissent and shows the extreme lengths that they are prepared to go to in order to intimidate perceived government critics,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

Alaa Abdel Fattah’s lawyer, Mohammed el-Baqer, a well-known human rights defender and director of Adala Center for Rights and Freedoms, was also arrested on 29 September and has been subjected to ill-treatment at the same prison.