Amnesty alleges Egypt military abused protesters

TAREK EL-TABLAWY - Associated Press

Amnesty International has published the testimonies of two detainees who allege the Egyptian military tortured them while they were in custody in the days before the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.

London-based Amnesty urged the military Thursday to end the abuses of detainees that took place during the 18-day uprising against Mubarak's regime.

The detainees say they were beaten, subjected to electric shocks, stripped, and dropped in barrels of water. Amnesty said some protesters are still in detention, but it did not say how many.

The military was deployed in Egypt on Jan. 28 to try to restore security as police disappeared from the streets amid the mass protests. Torture by police and other security agents has been widespread for years.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) — At least 1,500 workers from the Suez Canal Authority protested Thursday in three Egyptian cities alongside the strategic waterway, demanding better pay and working conditions. The workers, however, vowed their protest would not disrupt traffic through the waterway.

The workers, mainly administrative and technical employees with the canal authority, said they were not receiving the required government pay increases and that the authority adopts a two-tiered system that provides better benefits to professional employees.

About 500 people protested in front of the authority's headquarters in the city of Ismailia east of Cairo. there were similar protests in Suez to the south and Port Said to the north.

The canal links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and spares shipping the long journey around Africa to reach the Atlantic or the Indian oceans. About one million barrels of oil is shipped through the canal daily.

Also Thursday, security officials said Egyptian security forces have deployed along a pipeline in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula that carries natural gas to Israel.

The area — long known for resistance to government control — has witnessed a security void during the unrest surrounding the 18 days of massive street protests that began Jan. 25 and led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.

On Feb. 5, assailants bombed a gas terminal in the area, disrupting the flow of gas to Israel and Jordan.

Armed groups have also bombed the state security building in Rafah on the border with Gaza and attacked and lit fire to police stations and other government facilities throughout the region.

Security and hospital officials say about 35 people have been killed in the clashes, two-thirds of them police.

Northern Sinai is home to Bedouin tribes who resist government control. Officials say tribesmen have joined forces with Islamic militants, some of whom escaped from prisons during the uprising.

The security officials said Thursday that soldiers have been taking up positions along the pipeline since Tuesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.