Outrage in Egypt as two citizens allegedly killed during custody by police in different provinces
Alleged police brutality continues in Egypt as two citizens were reportedly killed by cops in separate provinces in the North African country recently, sparking outrage by activists and human rights advocates.
On Sunday, 6 August, a police officer reportedly shot dead a man as he attempted to evade arrest in Bani Mazar village in southern Minya province, witnesses said.
The man, a father of seven, had been handed down a verdict in a misdemeanour and was about to be apprehended to serve time, witnesses told The New Arab.
Upon attempting to flee, a police officer fired several gunshots at him, including fatal ones, the witnesses added, without giving further details.
"The officer carried the man in a vehicle and headed to the police station instead of the hospital, but he died on the way," a security source at the provisional police directorate told TNA on condition of anonymity.
However, the declared official narrative indicated that "[the deceased] was a convicted drug dealer who received 19 years of prison sentences in several cases."
"The suspect was ambushed at the time he was selling narcotics; and when he felt the presence of security forces, he fired gunshots at them. The police returned fire, injuring his left arm… he was announced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital," a statement by the interior ministry said on Monday evening, refuting unofficial accounts of the events.
As the dead suspect's family was denied the right to receive his body and bury him shortly after his demise, dozens of local citizens gathered outside the local police station and engaged in clashes with the forces stationed there.
دوامة الدم مستمرة !— أحمد عطوان AHMED ATWAN (@ahmedatwan66) August 6, 2023
والظابط أحمد يقتل ولا يبالي
ظابط شرطة بقتل مواطن بـ قرية بني مزار بمحافظة #المنيا واشتباكات بين الشرطة وأهالي القرية.
من مطروح الى المنيا
ومن قبلي الى بحري
مفيش حاتم هيتحاكم
حتى تغور دولة العسكر. pic.twitter.com/EVHVKHrQLC
No further details were immediately available till the time of publication.
In the capital Cairo, another man was allegedly tortured to death in custody, apparently this week, after he had refused to act as a police informant, the Egyptian Network for Human Rights said in a statement on Monday, citing his brother as claiming.
"Ongoing investigations have been conducted to figure out the circumstances behind his death…at the 'notorious' police station in the [lower-middle-class] Dar El-Salam neighbourhood where similar incidents are common," the statement read.
It remains unclear when was the exact date the man was reportedly killed as a picture showing signs of torture, blood, and severe bruises on his dead has widely been circulated on social media. TNA refrained from publishing the rather graphic image.
Last month, a police officer, who allegedly killed a local Arab tribe member in northwestern Marsa Matrouh province, was referred to a criminal court after the official version of the story refuted the witnesses' accounts, claiming it was manslaughter, not a shoot-to-kill incident.
Earlier in the same month, an army captain was referred to an urgent criminal trial before a court-martial on charges of homicide and attempted murder of the mother, the attempted murder of the father and children of the same family following a heated discussion with the parents in a luxurious gated community on the outskirts of Cairo.
Such incidents highlighted the perceived culture of impunity the army and police officers enjoy in Egypt, sparking the outrage of activists and social media users nationwide.
In 2010, the horrific torture murder of Khaled Said by two police officers in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria was among the main driving forces behind the 25 January Revolution that toppled the rule of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The status quo of human rights in Egypt has remained for over a decade later, with the regime of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi allegedly overseeing the worst violations, reportedly throwing tens of thousands of his critics currently behind bars.
Meanwhile, 33 pre-trial detainees were released on Monday, a new batch that had recently received a presidential pardon, a new batch viewed by observers as "a gesture of goodwill" amid politically and economically challenging conditions facing Sisi's regime.
Egypt has granted presidential pardons to hundreds of political prisoners since a pardon policy was activated in April last year.
About 60,000 political prisoners are estimated to have been behind bars in Egypt; many face abuse, torture and medical neglect, per the estimation of local and international human rights groups.