At least nine people died in clashes in early May in the Abbasiya district of Cairo. Government forces had arrived at the building housing the Defense Ministry in response to skirmishes between area residents and supporters of banned presidential candidate Hazem Abu-Ismail, a Salafist.
Human Rights Watch said victims and lawyers testified that Egyptian soldiers beat and tortured the demonstrators that were arrested for protesting near the Defense Ministry. Security forces were also accused of remaining on the sidelines when armed groups attacked protesters during demonstrations that same week.
Joe Stork, deputy director of Middle East and North African affairs at the rights group, said from New York there is no justification for the abuse of prisoners.
"The brutal beating of both men and women protesters shows that military officers have no sense of limits on what they can do," he said in a statement.
The allegations come on the eve of the first presidential election in Egypt since a popular uprising forced long-time President Hosni Mubarak from office.
There are 13 candidates competing for an election set to take place over two days beginning Wednesday. Military authorities who took control over the country after Mubarak's resignation have given assurances for a speedy political transition.
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