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Voices of Egypt's Street Children
Selected Children's Accounts

Related Material

Mass Arrests of Street Children in Egypt
Press Release, February 19, 2003

Charged With Being Children
HRW Report, February 19, 2003

Names of children have been changed to protect their privacy.

Sexual Abuse and Violence
"The guard here says, 'You are a woman [sexually].' He keeps saying that to me. I keep saying, 'No, I'm a girl [i.e. a virgin].' Yesterday, he said, 'If you are really a girl, take your clothes off so we can examine you.' Then he grabbed my breasts, but I hit him."
-Warda N., sixteen

"The guards at the [Sahel police] station curse us with curses about our mothers and so sometimes they hit us. My mother is dead so I don't let anyone curse her. If the guards do curse me I curse them back. Sometimes the guard tells the officer, and then the officer hits me. Twice the officer has done this-it is the same one. He curses me and makes me stand while he hits me with a stick. When I fall to the ground he makes me stand again. He hits me all over my body-from my head to my feet."
-Amal A., sixteen

Police Abuse and Detention Conditions
"The government is oppressive. The police insult me and mistreat me. About four or five days ago the police grabbed me. I spent one night at the adult police station, not at [the juvenile section of] al Azbekiya. At the police station an officer hit me with a fist on my back, one blow. He didn't say anything. Then they made an investigative report and took me to the lockup. The cell is below. It is small, maybe 2 meters by 4 meters. There were a lot of us, girls and women. There was no food. The women who had visitors shared their food. They let me go on the second day. No one came to get me. It was after the `asha [evening call to prayer."
-Hoda L., fourteen

"I was in the Giza police station for a week before they sent me to al Azbekiya. At the Giza station I was with thieves who hit us and made us sit in the bathroom. The cell was very big. There were adults and kids. The smallest kid was nine, Suliman. The adults would hit us and tell us "get back, get back" and make us sit in the bathroom. There were three toilets, all full of water and filth. They made us sit there."
-Anwar R., fifteen

"Every little bit [the guards at al Azbekiya] hit us. They hit us with belts. When they come to wake us, they wake us up with belts. If someone says anything, they hit all of us."
-Marwan `I., thirteen

"The first time [I was sent back to my home governorate] there were fifty or sixty people in the transport vehicle. Adults and kids. One adult told me I was a "bastard." I had handcuffs on and the adults did too. I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to die. I was screaming, but no one did anything. They didn't open the door until we arrived. There were small kids crying, but no one did anything for them.
-Yahiya H., eleven

Arbitrary Arrest
"I was in the al Manial neighborhood. We were four kids. They were one ordinary police officer and the police station commander and two low-ranked police. We were crossing the University Bridge and they were waiting at the other side of the bridge. They asked us for our identity documents, but we were all young so we didn't have them. They kept hitting us and telling us to get identity documents. Then the regular officer took me aside, and I gave him 5LE (U.S.$1.10). Then he let us go."
-Nasir Y., fifteen

Procedural Abuses
"The prosecutor took the police investigative report but didn't ask any questions. They didn't say what I was charged with. They just wanted to send me back to the countryside. I didn't see a judge."
-Anwar R., fifteen

"They ask you where you are from. Then the prosecutor says 'You stole something.' I say, 'I didn't steal anything.' Then he says, 'O.K. Begging.'"
- Khaled M., eleven

"At the police directorate the government orders four or five days detention. At the Public Prosecution Office they say, 'Why did you leave your family? It is wrong for a girl to leave her family.' Then they take you to the police station; then they deport you [to your home governorate]."
-Wafa' R., fifteen, victim of domestic violence