Egyptian policeman jailed over death after torture of Islamist

Ahram Online, DPA, Thursday 29 Sep 2011

Alexandria police major jailed as evidence emerges of the continuance of practices of torture in post-revolutionary Egypt

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered that a policeman be jailed for allegedly torturing an Islamist to death over a church bombing earlier this year.

Major Mohamed Al-Sheemi is to be jailed for four days pending further investigations over the alleged use of torture to extract confessions from Al-Sayed Belal, an Egyptian Islamist suspected of attacking a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in January.

Belal died a few days after his release.

The policeman's jailing, ahead of an expected trial, came closely after Egypt's military rulers ordered a probe into footage posted on the internet allegedly showing security and army officers torturing two suspected thugs.

The widely circulated footage triggered fears in Egypt that torture, widely practised by police in the era of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, is still endemic.

The incident was condemned Wednesday by human rights organisation Amnesy International (AI).

"Judging by this deeply unsettling video, suspects are still being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Egypt," the London-based group said.

"The Egyptian military authorities have committed publicly to creating a climate where the rule of law is respected after so many years of state repression. Now they must match their words with direct and immediate action," AI added.

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