Allam continued: "Dismantling State Security, the shadowy and all-powerful intelligence force, was a key demand of protesters who forced the resignation last month of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. When the military-led interim authority failed to dissolve the agency immediately, protesters in Cairo and the port city of Alexandria descended on State Security offices this weekend to seize files they hoped would cement Mubarak's legacy of prisoner abuse and disappearances.
"I thought my brother would be found there," said Leila Mahmoud, 47, who was distraught when she learned the buildings had been evacuated. "He was taken on April 2, 2005, and we've been looking for him since then. We haven't heard a word from him since. Not a word."
"Security forces and the police routinely torture or ill-treat detainees, particularly during interrogation. In most cases, officials torture detainees to obtain information and coerce confessions, occasionally leading to death in custody."
"For those who jailed at the complex, the memories are haunting," she says.
"I saw people's nails being ripped out and people hung from the ceiling by their arms or legs," said Adel Reda, 39, trembling as he recounted his nine months inside the complex.
"They would throw our food in sand before giving it to us and splash us with cold water day and night. Sometimes it was so dark you couldn't see your hands."
When asked whether he was ever allowed access to an attorney, Reda raised his hands heavenward and replied: "My lawyer was God."
Allam's piece goes on recounting citizen after citizen telling their stories of loved ones snatched from the beds or their offices or their cars, whisked to this torture factory, in all likelihood disappeared as if they had never lived.