Egypt presidential hopeful decries 'detainees' torture, biased media'

It's politically and logically unacceptable that these youth are put in prisons, Sabbahi said.

It's politically and logically unacceptable that these youth are put in prisons, Sabbahi said.

By Marwa Gamal

CAIRO - Egypt's leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi condemned the alleged torture of detained activists and warned of the political signals given out by the country's "one-sided" media.

In an interview with private Egyptian satellite channel OnTV Wednesday night, Sabbahi called for the release of "political prisoners."

"It's politically and logically unacceptable that these youth are put in prisons," Sabbahi said.

"I do not accept imprisoning anyone for their political beliefs," he added. "These measures only increase sympathy for [ousted president Mohamed Morsi's] Muslim Brotherhood."

Earlier this week, 16 local human rights groups called for immediate investigation into the "harrowing" allegations of torture and sexual assaults against male and female detainees who were arrested during demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the January 25 uprising which toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

"I called for a Yes vote on the [recently approved] constitution which is being violated by torture taking place in prisons," Sabbahi said.

Sabbahi further warned that the country is on its way to becoming a "nation of fear," criticizing Egyptian media for being leaning towards "one [political] direction only."

"This one-sidedness of the media makes some feel that the state is being run in favor of one direction only, where anyone who opposes it is attacked," he said, hinting at the pro-army rhetoric that has been developed by several state and private media outlets.

Earlier in February, Sabbahi, the founder of the Popular Current, announced plans to run in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections, expected in April.

Sabbahi came third to ousted president Mohamed Morsi and former premier Ahmed Shafiq in the 2012 presidential polls.

Sabahi's announcement came amid growing anticipation that army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who is seen as the main architect of the last July's ouster of Morsi, is widely expected to run in Egypt's presidential election.

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