Video of man beating kids at Egyptian orphanage sparks outrage

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 3 Aug 2014

Officials are looking into a Giza orphanage after a video of its manager beating children was allegedly uploaded by his wife 'to expose him'

Orphanage Mecca Elmokarama
Orphanage Mecca Elmokarama (Photo: Al-Ahram0
Authorities have opened an investigation into a video that circulated online Sunday showing children being physically abused in a Giza orphanage.
The video which sparked fury online showed a group of children being badly beaten and kicked allegedly by the orphanage manager.
The two-minute video clip published on Facebook and YouTube on Sunday showed a man, now known to be in the Makka El-Mokrama orphanage in the Haram area of Giza, while he was spanking and violently beating a group of children as punishment for apparently disobeying his orders and turning on the TV and opening the refrigerator without his permission.
It was not clear who filmed the clip, which was captured by mobile phone, or how it was uploaded online, but the children are wearing summer clothing, which suggested that it was taken recently.
However, on Sunday evening, the orphanage's owner – who is also the wife of the man – told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website that she had taken the video.
"I am the owner of that orphanage and the one who assaulted the children is my husband," said Elham Eid Awad.
"He used to beat the children and that's why I filmed him and uploaded it online: in order to expose him," she said, adding that she filmed the violent scene two months ago.
The video was shared by social media users who called on the prosecutor-general and government to investigate and arrest the orphanage's owner.
A group of children rights' activists also reported the video and the owner of the orphanage to the prosecutor-general.
The online campaign paid off when Ghada Wali, social solidarity minister, issued a decision to transfer the children to another orphanage and to investigate the case a few hours after the case was exposed online.
News reports later said that a police force and officials from the solidarity ministry had gone to the orphanage and taken the children to another orphanage.
In statements to private satellite channel ONTV Sunday, Wali said she had also reported the orphanage and its officials to the interior ministry as well the prosecutor-general.
She said her ministry had previously reported the same orphanage to the prosecutor-general for financial violations.
Earlier media reports showed several complaints dating back to 2011 regarding physical abuse and corruption by the orphanage's owner and manager.
Aziza Amar, head of social services at the ministry and in charge of the investigation into the orphanage, said that the incident in the video "has not yet been proven", according to Al-Ahram.
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