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Egypt prosecutor says activist El-Gendy killed by hit-and-run car accident, shelves case

Prosecution says the member of the Nasserist Popular Current was killed in 2013 in a hit-and-run car accident, not tortured by police as some believed; mother and lawyers denounce prosecutors decision

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015
Mohamed El-Gendy
Egyptian activist Mohamed El-Gendy during a protest in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Courtesy of Mohamed El-Gendy Facebook account)
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Egypt's prosecutor-general said on Tuesday that the death of political activist Mohamed El-Gendy, who was killed in February 2013 after suspected police torture, was due to injuries caused by a hit-and-run car accident.

At the time of his death, human rights campaigners and security sources said that 28-year-old El-Gendy had been killed as a result of police brutality during interrogation at a Central Security Forces camp after being rounded up with other young protesters after protests in Tahrir Square on 27 January 2013.

A statement by Egypt's prosecutor-general's office denied reports that El-Gendy was tortured to death by police, refering a witness of alleged brutality excercised against him to trial over charges of false testimony.

"They [the authorities] are taking me back to square one," Samya Al-Sheikh, El-Gendy's mother, told Ahram Online. "They have excluded all the evidence we obtained and canceled all previous investigations."

"Are they trying to polish the image of the police as the expense of my son's blood?" 

"Enough injustice!" she said, vowing to do all it takes, even bring the case to an international court if needed, to seek justice for her son.‪

El-Gendy was a member of the Nasserist Popular Current party, who said he had been electrocuted and strangled with a cord while in custody.

‪A report by Egypt's official forensic medicine department also stated El-Gendy was brutally beaten and tortured, after his lawyer challenged a first report that claimed that the death was due to a car accident.

But lawyers say the prosecution deems such reports advisory and not binding.

The interior ministry had denied accusations of his torture, saying in its report on the matter that he was found injured on the street after being hit by a car on 28 January and died later at  hospital.

The prosecution has designated the case as a "manslaughter misdemeanor", temporarily shelving it as a culprit could not be identified, while ordering police to carry out a probe to track down the perpetrators.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, one of El-Gendy's lawyers, said he will appeal against what he described as an "unjust" decision by the prosecution, and demand that prosecutors reopen investigation in the case.

The statement on Tuesday said that one of the witnesses in the case falsely claimed he saw El-Gendy being tortured by officers at a police camp, but failed to guide prosecutors to the place.

‪Prosecutors added that it was "certainly proven" that El-Gendy was at hospital at the time the witness allegedly saw him tortured. Therefore, the witness would be tried for "spreading false rumors harming public interest and disrupting investigations." 

Lawyer Abdel Aziz said the witness' referral to trial is "the most dangerous" part of the case, and claimed that this is tantamount to an implied warning to witnesses in any future torture case.

Human rights campaigners claimed that El-Gendy's death was only one of several torture cases reported at security camps, saying that the brutal tactics long adopted under Mubarak had remained unchanged after his ouster.

El-Gendy's photos lying on his deathbed with multiple bruises reminded many of Khaled Said, a youth whose 2010 torture to death by police under Mubarak helped ignite protests that led to the 2011 revolution.

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