Members of the Egyptian police special forces patrol streets in order to head off potential protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government in al-Haram neighbourhood in the southern Cairo Giza district on January 25, 2016
Mahmoud Khaled—AFP/Getty Images
July 12, 2016 10:49 PM EDT

Hundreds of people have been abducted and tortured by Egypt’s National Security Agency in an “unprecedented spike” of enforced disappearances since 2015, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Wednesday.

The wave of disappearances of students, political activists, and protesters—some as young as 14—is part of a broad crackdown on dissent, the BBC reports. Local NGOs say three to four people on average disappear daily. Victims are allegedly taken from their homes and held for months, sometimes blindfolded and handcuffed for the entirety.

The Egyptian government denies such allegations and Interior Minister Magdy Abdul Ghaffar says its security forces abide by Egyptian law, the BBC says.

Under President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and Mr Abdul Ghaffar, forcible disappearances have become a “key instrument of state policy,” says Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director, Philip Luther.

Since al-Sisi overthew Mohammed Morsi in 2013, over 1,000 people have been killed and 40,000 estimated to have been jailed.

[BBC]

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