Saturday, June 26, 2010

Killing by police leads to large protests in Egypt

 Thousands of Egyptians, shouting 'Down with Hosni Muarak'  have demonstrated on Friday in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, against the death of Khalid Said, 28, who was reportedly beaten to death by policemen on 6 June. Among the protesters was Mohammed El Baradei, who has emerged as the most important person among Egypt's oppostional drive towards democratization and change.
The reason for the protest was that the death of Said was proof of police brutality which the police subsequently has tried to cover up.Witnesses said Said was at an Internet cafe in Alexandria when two plainclothes policemen entered, tied his arms behind his back and roughed him up, including smashing his head against a marble slab, according to published interviews with the cafe owner, Hassan Mosbah.
As the Egyptian correspondent of the Miami Herald writes, Said then was dragged outside and shoved into a neighboring building. His assailants continued to beat him, ramming his head against an iron gate, steps on a staircase and the walls of the building, according to a report released by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, an independent advocacy group that reconstructed the events through interviews with witnesses. By the time his attackers were finished with him, Said's teeth were broken, his jaw was dislocated and blood seeped from his lifeless body. His relatives say the police targeted him because he'd circulated a video that allegedly showed a group of police officials sharing a haul of drugs they'd seized. The Interior Ministry denied these reports and claimed that Said choked to death on a package of marijuana that he tried to swallow as the police chased him.
The Egyptian government, at first dismissive of the case, is still investigating. Prosecutors have asked to question the two policemen who arrested Said to determine how he sustained the injuries that are visible in his authopsy photos, according to the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram. What has enraged the Egyptian opposition and blogging community is that two athopsies performed by the government confirmed that Said's death was caused by swallowing a package of marihuana that choked him, while at the same time in the Egyptian blogosphere pictures are widely circulating of his badly injured head and face. The protesters hav asked for a third authopsy to be performed by independent experts and a thorough investigation. International human rights organisation Human Rights Watch has communicated a similar demand.
The fact that Khalid Said's death has grown out to the dimension of such importance is yet more proof of the fact that discontent with the regime is growing.  

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