Human rights delegation visits El-Minya governorate officials to inquire about Beni Mazar case
CAIRO: Delegates from nine local human rights organizations paid a surprise visit to the security director of El-Minya governorate, General Mohamed Nour El-Din, last week to investigate complaints concerning alleged police maltreatment and harassment of the family of a man formerly accused of murder..
“We sent a joint letter to the Ministry of Interior to request a meeting with El-Minya governorate officials to discuss the Mohamed Ali Abdel Latif family case, but we never received an answer, says delegate Sally Sami from the NGO Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
According to members of the mission, police harassment of the family has continued although Abdel Latif has been cleared of all accusations of alleged involvement in the Beni Mazar killings.
Ten people, including several infants, were found mutilated and killed in the village of Shams El-Din in Upper Egypt on December 29 last year.
Abdul Latif’s acquittal has reportedly left many local villagers angered and worried since it implies that the person responsible for the cruel killings is still at large.
“Someone had to be put on the record for the Beni Mazar massacre and Mohamed Ali became the perfect scapegoat. The police did not do a good job finding the person responsible for these awful killings, so they arrested and tortured Mohamed Ali to be able to quickly close the case, Sami argues.
Abdel Latif’s family has reportedly feared retribution from the victims families and the police from the day he was arrested.
During the meeting with the security director of El-Minya, the delegation called for the immediate discontinuation of police harassment of the Abdel Latif family.
The family has been subject to systemic violations of their basic rights such as their right to housing, right to work, right to education, and right to health care, the mission argues.
First, the family has constantly been kept indoors under strict police surveillance since the arrest of Abdel Latif. Since Abdel Latif’s acquittal from court, the surveillance has tightened significantly.
Currently, the Abdel Latif family is not allowed to leave the house except to go to the mosque or to buy groceries. Even then, family members need to be escorted by a police officer. The family is also prevented from contacting the outside world since their mobile phones have been confiscated by security, the human rights group claims.
The Daily Star Egypt contacted the office of El-Minya governorate security director General Mohamed Nour El-Din but was told he was unavailable for comment.
Repeated calls to the Interior Ministry’s media office were not returned at press time.