Egyptians honour torture victim Khaled Said, six years on

Egyptians honour torture victim Khaled Said, six years on
Egypt's social media users have launched an online campaign to remember Khaled Said, a torture victim whose brutal murder at the hands of police forces helped ignite the 2011 revolution.
3 min read
07 Jun, 2016
parallels have been drawn between the cases of Said and Regeni [Joel Sames]

Egyptians have taken to social media to mark six years since the death of Egyptian torture victim Khaled Said, whose murder at the hands of police forces helped spark the 25 January 2011 popular uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.

An online campaign was launched to honour Said's memory and condemn the ongoing police brutality.

On 6 June 2010, Said was beaten to death by two police officers shortly after his arrest in an internet cafe in Egypt's coastal city of Alexandria.

According to eyewitnesses, the pair took Said into the entrance of a residential building where he was repeatedly punched and kicked. They reportedly smashed his head against the wall, the staircase and the entrance steps.

There has been much speculation over the attack, including a suggestion that Said had posted a video online showing police sharing the proceeds of a drug bust.

A photo of Said's disfigured face was widely circulated on social media, sparking an online campaign that began with the Facebook page We are all Khaled Said, which quickly gained huge popularity.

The page called for the trial of the officers involved, as well as for protests on 25 January - Egypt's national "Police Day".

Though not unique or unusual, Said's case brought the issue of police brutality to the forefront of public consciousness, with activists across the country using it as an example of state corruption and a motive for dissent.

Said was by no means the last victim of police brutality and death by torture in Egypt.

On 25 January 2016, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising, Italian student Giulio Regeni went missing in heavily policed downtown Cairo.

His mutilated body was found a week later at the side of a road on Cairo's outskirts, with evidence on his disfigured corpse suggesting he died at the hands of security services during an interrogation - an allegation the Egyptian government has strongly denied.

Since then, parallels have been drawn between the two cases.

In April, Said's mother sent an emotional video message to Regeni's parents, offering condolences and showing solidarity.

Translation: As if the revolution never happened. What happened before still happens everyday. No one is being held accountable. In my country, they only sentence the honourables to death, while murderers are acquitted.
Translation: This is not an anniversary as some may think. It is a humanitarian case that includes all the martyrs who were killed by the military, the police, and the murderous media.
Translation: Since the military coup in 2013, 395 people were killed in detention, either from torture or medical negligence.
Translation: On the anniversary of his death, we now have hundreds of Khaled Saids and thousands whom the military regime is trying to lead to the same fate.
Translation: Egyptian authorities continue to slowly murder detainees, especially political prisoners in the Wadi al-Natroun prison.