File Photo: Wayley Police Station in Abbasiya near central Cairo (Photo: Ahram)
Egyptian prosecution ordered on Saturday the release of an officer and four low-ranking policemen who were detained on accusations of beating a 61-year-old man to death, keeping three other defendants behind bars pending investigation.
The prosecution released the five policemen on an EGP 5000 bail.
On Friday, Egyptian prosecutors ordered the apprehension of eight policemen, a detective and seven low-ranking policemen at the Wayley Police Station. They are accused of beating to death a man in Cairo's Abbasiya district on Thursday.
The interior ministry had released a statement on Friday saying Hussein Farghaly died in a hospital he was transferred to after complaining of "sickness" during questioning at a police station in a case related to a landlord-tenant dispute.
The interior ministry said Wayley Police Station in Abbasiya received a complaint that a landlord, named Hussein Farghaly, was illegally detaining one of his tenants in a dispute over rent.
The statement said officers attempted to negotiate with the landlord to release the tenant. However, according to the interior ministry statement, Farghaly, along with family members, attacked the police forces.
Police say they succeeded in freeing the tenant who suffered minor injuries and was sent to a hospital for treatment, adding that the scuffle resulted in damaging a police vehicle and Farghaly's injury.
During questioning at the station, Farghaly complained of nausea and was sent to a nearby hospital where he died, the ministry said.
On Friday, hundreds of family and neighbours attended funeral prayers for Farghaly at Nasser El-Haq mosque in Abbasiya and afterwards chanted against police brutality.
The family of the deceased said they would not hold a funeral for Farghaly until "justice is served."
The interior ministry has been in hot water in recent months over several cases of deaths of citizens in police custody and reports of torture in police stations.
The interior ministry says such incidents of police brutality are “isolated” cases and has vowed to bring officers accused of wrong doing to justice.
The ministry has recently drafted legislation that aims to monitor the performance of police officers and punish rogue elements. The legislation has been referred to parliament but has not yet been voted on.
Over the past months, Egyptian courts have sentenced more than a dozen police officers to jail after they were accused in various cases of beating citizens to deaths in custody.