Egypt rights groups allege police brutality on the rise, call for firing interior minister

More than a dozen Egyptian rights groups allege that police abuse and brutality are on the rise in detention centers and during protests.

The groups charged in a statement Wednesday that police were reverting back to the systematic torture that prevailed under the previous autocratic regime.

They said President Mohammed Morsi bears responsibility for failing to stop or condemn such practices. They called on Morsi to fire his interior minister, who is in charge of police, and to put him on trial. They urged an overhauling of the force.

The groups say that in the span of a few days, 53 civilians were killed during protests violently broken up by police, nearly 40 of them in one province.

Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim denied Tuesday his forces shot at protesters.