Egypt to investigate alleged police abuse case

AFP, Wednesday 1 Jun 2011

Ramzi Salaheddine's death is the first case of police torture reported in Egypt since the revolution

Egypt's interior minister has ordered an investigation into the case of a man who died following police questioning, in what some media are calling the first post-revolt incident of police torture.

Ramzi Salaheddine died in hospital last week in the poor Cairo neighbourhood of Boulaq al-Dakrur after being transferred there following questioning in a nearby police station.

"During questioning, Salaheddine was rushed to hospital and died there," a security official said.

At the time, the head of the hospital said Salaheddine -- who had been been arrested for failing to pay a debt -- had died of a sudden drop in blood pressure.

But the treating doctor Mohamed Kuleib told the independent daily al-Shorouk on Tuesday that Salaheddine had arrived at the hospital with a broken pelvis and three broken ribs which caused internal bleeding, and accused the head of the hospital of lying about the cause of death.

The paper said Salaheddine's death could be the first case of police torture after a popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak and called for democratic change.

Interior Minister Mansour Essawy "has ordered an investigation into the case and said the ministry will not hesitate in taking all legal measures should anyone be found guilty of violations," the security official told AFP.

Routine police abuse and torture was prevalent during the Mubarak era and were a driving force behind the massive popular protests that ousted the veteran strongman.

The most high profile case to have dominated headlines and sparked demonstrations was of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man beaten to death by two undercover police officers in an Alexandria street last year.

A Facebook page dedicated to him, "We are all Khaled Said", was one of several that helped launch the call for anti-regime protests on 25 January.

Other notorious cases include Emad El-Kabir, who was sodomised with a stick in a police station in 2007, with images of the torture recorded on a mobile phone and broadcast on the Internet.

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