Egypt's prosecution investigates death of cart driver amid police torture allegations
Ahram Online , Thursday 17 Nov 2016
The prosecution's initial findings on the death of 50-year old Magdy Makeen contradict with the accounts of both the cart driver's family and the interior ministry, ministry maintains man did of natural causes

Egypt's prosecution announced on Wednesday that its initial investigation into the death of a cart driver, whose family believes was tortured to death by police, revealed that the man died in an accident during a police chase.

According to eye-witness statements, prosecutors found that 50-year old Magdy Makeen died when his cart crashed as he was being chased by police from Al-Amireya police station in north Cairo late Sunday night.

Makeen's family has accused police of torturing the cart driver to death - after he was arrested - in Al-Amireya police station.

The Prosecution said in its statement that two men who were riding with Makeen in his cart fled when they saw the police car approach.

The cart crashed sometime later.

The two men were later apprehended by police.

According to the statement, the two admitted that they had in their possession about "200 narcotics pills." They are currently detained pending further investigation.

The prosecution's initial findings contradict the statement issued by the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday as well as the account provided by the victim's family.

According to Makeen's family, he was arrested Sunday night on his way back home from work after getting into an argument with a police captain who works out of Al-Amireya police station.

The family says they were informed Monday morning that Makeen's body was being held at the morgue, saying that when they arrived to examine the body they found evidence he had been tortured.

A graphic video clip taken by the family of Makeen's corpse - reportedly showing his body full of traces of extreme torture marks - has gone viral in the past 48 hours.

Interior ministry spokesperson Tarek Attiya denied in a media statement on Wednesday that Makeen was tortured, saying that he died from a "sever drop in blood pressure" after he was arrested along with the two other men.

Attiya added that the three were arrested for possession of "2,000 tramadol pills" and that the case was being investigated by the prosecution.

The forensic authority had started an autopsy on Makeen's body on Tuesday.

Parliamentary reactions

Head of the parliamentary human rights committee, Alaa Abed, asked the interior ministry to investigate the "murder of Magdy Makeen in Al-Amireya police station and to reveal the truth to public."

Abed met on Wednesday with the interior ministry's spokesperson to discuss the latest updates in the investigation, according to Ahram Arabic news website.

Several MPs, including independent MP Haitham El-Hariri, presented a request to the speaker Ali Abdel Aal demanding to question the interior minister before over the torture accusations.

Torture is outlawed in Article 52 of Egypt's 2014 constitution. The article states that "torture in all its forms is a crime, without a statute of limitations."

The hash-tag #magdymakeen in Arabic is trending online, with activists and commenters calling for justice for the cart driver.