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14 June 2010

EGYPT: BRUTAL POLICE KILLING OF YOUNG MAN MUST BE INVESTIGATED

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Press Release

EGYPT: BRUTAL POLICE KILLING OF YOUNG MAN MUST BE INVESTIGATED

Amnesty International is calling for an immediate, full and independent investigation into the brutal killing of a 28-year-old Egyptian man, Khaled Mohammed Said, while in the hands of Egyptian security forces in the city of Alexandria on Sunday 6 June.

Shocking pictures of Khaled Mohammed Said's body, whose face is almost unrecognizable from the beating he received, at the hands of the Egyptian police and in public according to reports, have been posted on the internet.

“The horrific photographs are shocking evidence of the abuses taking place in Egypt which are in stark contrast to the image of the country depicted today by Egyptian officials to members of the UN Human Rights Council and their reluctant recognition of some minor wrongdoings,” said Amnesty International.  

“These pictures are a rare, first-hand glimpse of the routine use of brutal force by the Egyptian security forces, who expect to operate in a climate of impunity, with no questions asked.”

Although, the exact circumstances surrounding the killing are still being pieced together, what is known is that Khaled Mohammed Said was severely beaten by two plain-clothes police officers in an internet cafe. He was reportedly dragged out of the café and the beating continued until he died.
According to a lawyer from El-Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, Khaled Mohammed Said's relatives were informed of his death, but were prevented from seeing his body immediately. The police took them to Sidi Gaber police station, where they were told that Khaled Mohammed Said had swallowed a bag of narcotics when the police had approached him, and had died from an overdose.

The family filed a complaint with the prosecutor on Monday 7 June, but were surprised to find that the police had already filed a report claiming Khaled Mohammed Said had died from a drug overdose. The prosecutor has since ordered an autopsy and the investigation is continuing.

Amnesty International calls for an investigation to be carried out in line with international standards, including those within the United Nations Principles on Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.

Under the umbrella of Egypt's 29-year-old state of emergency, abuses by the security forces are routine and rarely punished, and those responsible have only been brought to justice on a very few occasions. The state of emergency was extended for another two years earlier this month, despite repeated calls from states and international human rights groups during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for it to be lifted as soon as possible.

“The Egyptian authorities must respond immediately to this brutal beating and killing in the most robust way. If they do not take action, it will yet again send a clear signal that these abuses may continue and guarantee the perpetrators get away with it,” said Amnesty International. “The Egyptian authorities must reign in their security forces. The Egyptian authorities should know that the eyes of the world are increasingly on them, and the pictures online mean that they cannot avoid conducting a thorough investigation with another whitewash.”

Note to editors

Article 3(1) of Egypt’s Emergency Law is the most pernicious and give the authorities the power to “restrict people’s freedom of assembly, movement, residence, or passage in specific times and places; arrest suspects or [persons who are] dangerous to public security and order [and] detain them; allow searches of persons and places without being restricted by the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code; and assign anyone to perform any of these tasks.” All this can be exercised by a simple “oral or written order”.

AI Index: PRE01/192/2010
Region Middle East And North Africa
Country Egypt
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