Egyptian woman facing trial says policemen beat her unconscious

Tuesday 14 Jun 2011

Facing a military trial for attacking a policeman, May Metwaly insists that she is the victim of a brutal attack by a police force unreformed since Egypt's revolution


Today lawyers and activists gathered at the Military Court in Haram to support the case of May Metwaly who stands accused of assaulting a police officer.

Metwaly denies the charge and claimed in a video interview with Al-Wafd’s website that rather the policeman assaulted her, pulled her hair, dragged her in the street and beat her until she lost consciousness.

When she regained consciousness, Metwaly found herself in a police station accused of insulting a policeman. She was kept in custody for two days before being transferred to a military court. While detained, she claims to have endured mistreatment, insults and humiliation at the hands of policemen with one officer going so far as to threaten her life.

Metwaly, who is studying acting and works as an actress, was driving home when a policeman stopped her car by Gamet El-Dawal El-Arabiya street, near Mostafa Mahmoud mosque to see her licence. After parking her car, she apologised for having an out of date licence and the policeman proceeded to insult and humiliate her.

In a video on the internet, Metwaly’s mother claimed that her daughter was singled out by the policeman simply because she is unveiled. She added that the policeman dragged her by the hair and told her she should be stoned to death.

Metwaly’s mother is terrified at the prospect of her daughter being tried by a military court whose rulings are "fast and usually unfair." Upon advice from friends and relatives, she elaborated, she swallowed her pride and begged the officer to release her daughter but he refused to drop the charges and threatened to kill May.

This is not the first such incidence of police brutality since the January 25 revolution, which erupted on Egypt’s Police Day as a protest against such violent practices that had become common place. Cases of torture in various police stations continue to emerge.

Among the latest police violence was the reported torturing to death of a microbus driver in Azbakeya police station two weeks ago.

In another reported incident, April 6 activist Salma El-Sawy alleges that policemen stopped and beat her last week on her way home. She was also questioned about her group's activities.

These incidents are alarming to activists, human rights monitors and, above all, families of the revolution’s martyrs who may feel that their blood was shed for nothing. "I want the parents of the martyrs to cry and stop sleeping because their children were killed for everything to stay the same. If I am tortured because my driving licence is over, then where is this country heading," cried Metwaly in her moving video interview with Al-Wafd.

Following today's session, the trial was adjourned to tomorrow where the military court will hear testimony from witnesses for the police, lawyer Ragi Omran told Ahram Online.

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