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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Egyptian court upholds 3-year sentence for 2 policemen in Matariya hospital assault case

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Mar 2017
Egypt
File Photo: Doctors protest in front of the Doctors Syndicate in Cairo (Photo: Courtesy of Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate official Facebook page)
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An Egyptian appeals court upheld on Monday a three-year prison sentence for two low-ranking police officers, convicted of assaulting doctors at a hospital in eastern Cairo's Matariya last year, an incident which prompted thousands of doctors to protest.

Matariya's misdemeanour appeal court upheld a lower court jail sentence and an EGP 5,000 fine for the assaulted doctors as well as the doctors syndicate, according to a statement by the syndicate on Monday.

The defendants did not attend today's court session.

The verdicts can still be appealed in a court of cassation.

In September, nine low-ranking policemen were given three-year sentences over an assault on physicians at a Cairo hospital earlier last year.

The defendants were convicted of the "unauthorised detention of two doctors," physical and verbal assault, cruelty and misuse of power.

The case stems back to an attack on 28 January 2016 by several low-ranking policemen on doctors at Matariya Hospital, after one of the doctors refused to include fake injuries in a medical report for one of the policemen.

The incident prompted thousands of doctors to protest in February at the Doctors Syndicate, calling for the prosecution of the assailants and the resignation of the health minister.  

The protest was believed to have been one of the biggest demonstrations by union members the country had seen since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office in 2014.

In January, six members of the Matariya Hospital staff were summoned for questioning by the prosecution for allegedly “inciting to strike.” All six were subsequently released.

There have been several incidents in recent years of policemen being charged with killing and assaulting civilians, though the interior ministry has repeatedly stated that these are isolated incidents.

Last year, President El-Sisi pledged to hold accountable policemen guilty of "violations" after a series of deaths in police custody, allegedly caused by torture, sparked public outcry.

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