Another prisoner died in police custody on Sunday, allegedly as the result of beatings by police officers, adding to a string of recent allegations of police abuses.
Amr Farouq died at Montazah police station in Alexandria, his body allegedly showing signs of torture, according to lawyers acting for the family. Amr’s father said his son was killed due to a beating at the police station.
The prosecution unit started to investigate the incident Sunday by visiting the police station and interrogating the fellow inmates.
A delegation from the Arab African Center for Freedoms and Human Rights were present to represent the family of the victim. They have accused police officers of killing Farouq.
Yassin Hassan, one of the lawyers following up on the case, told Daily News Egypt on Monday that a legal representative demanded that the prosecution highlight that the body of the deceased showed signs of torture. Hassan said lawyers are waiting for the report of the Forensic Medicine department.
Hassan said the victim, who was a tuk-tuk driver, was arrested on 2 November on charges of stealing another tuk-tuk that was reported stolen in September. “The investigation officer arrested him randomly and interrogated him for five days, pressuring him to confess to stealing the tuk-tuk,” he said.
“The police officer tortured Farouq to death and fabricated the police report saying the victim died naturally after having a meal. He also pressured some fellow inmates from the same detention cell to repeat the same narrative,” Hassan told Daily News Egypt.
“They will try to push the police station’s workers and prisoners to argue that the victim died after a dose of narcotics,” he said.
They dragged Farouq’s dead body from the corridors of the police station to the main detention cell in order to “perfect the fabricated report,” Hassan added.
Farouq’s father said he visited his son several times. During the visits, the son said he was being interrogated by the investigation bureau and was beaten daily. The police station and the Ministry of Interior’s media office have both confirmed the death, but they have denied that any torture or beatings took place.
The body was transferred to Koum Al-Dekka morgue and is expected to undergo an autopsy.
Farouq’s death marks the third death in detention since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi asserted that “attempts of violating human rights values must be stopped,” during his visit to the Police Academy on Thursday.
The death also marks the first since Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar stressed the ministry’s respect for human rights on Saturday in the wake of a string of alleged abuses by police officers.
Most cases of death in detention occur at police stations, where the detainees are being interrogated by the investigation bureau or have just been arrested. In a report issued last week, El-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence documented dozens of torture cases inside prisons in November.
However, the official response to the torture cases was that they were “individual cases” that should not undermine the “reputation and sacrifices” of Egypt’s police.
In the latest development, the prosecution has renewed the detention of four policemen and five low-ranking officers pending investigation on charges of torturing Talaat Shabeb to death in Luxor.
Shabeb died during his detention at El-Awameya Police Station at the end of November. A medical report was issued on Thursday revealing fractures to Shabeb’s neck and back that resulted in his spinal cord being severed.