Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi apologised on Sunday to Egyptian lawyers after one of them was physically assaulted by a policeman, an incident that sparked angry protests by attorneys on Saturday.
"I apologise to all of you, and I tell the state apparatuses please, we need to pay attention to everything despite the circumstances we're in," El-Sisi said, according to state news agency MENA, while inaugurating development projects around the country.
Last week, Emad Fahmy, a veteran attorney with 25 years' experience, was assaulted by a senior officer while attending to a case at a police station in the city of Faraskour in Damietta. The officer used his shoe during the attack. Fahmy was taken to hospital and received eight stitches.
Meanwhile, two officers are accused of torturing to death in February another lawyer, Karim Hamdy, while interrogating him in a police station in Cairo's Matariya district.
A significant number of lawyers nationwide responded to the call for a one-day strike on Saturday to protest the assault on Fahmy.
However, Lawyers' Syndicate head Sameh Ashour says the syndicate, which mobilised attorneys to protest against the police, will avoid escalation to honour El-Sisi, who he praised highly for apologising for the incident.
"I apologise to every Egyptian citizen who has been subject to any abuses, as I hold direct responsibility for anything that happens to the Egyptian citizen."
"I tell our sons in the police or any governmental institutions to pay attention [to the fact that] they are dealing with humans and their jobs impose tolerance on them because Egyptians are our relatives- and no one should be harsh on his relatives."
"We need to set an example," Sisi said.
Reported police abuses have become more prominent in recent months, with human rights advocates reporting an increasing number of cases in which detainees and prisoners are tortured.