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Exclusive Part II: Khaled Saeed case investigation
Exclusive Part II: Khaled Saeed case investigation
Al-Masry Al-Youm continues its exclusive publication of investigations into the death of Khaled Saeed, the Alexandrian who was allegedly killed by police on 8 June.
Saturday, July 17,2010 19:43
Al-Masrey Al-Youm

 

The appeals prosecution in Alexandria has twice interrogated Mahmoud Salah and Awad Ismail, the two police officers accused in the case. The first time they were released after their interrogation, pending investigation, but the second time they were held in custody.

Below are Salah's responses under questioning as detailed in the investigation report.

Prosecution: What do you know about Khaled Saeed dying while being arrested?

Salah: Ismail and I were on an undercover patrol mission on Boubaset Street in the Cleopatra neighborhood when we saw Khaled Saeed and Mohamed Radwan. We stopped them because Saeed was wanted in two cases of theft and possession of a knife.

Radwan told us he was clean while Saeed stepped back and entered the cybercafe. He was holding something in his hand. When I tried to take it from him, he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. Then he fell on the ground and his legs started to shake violently. People started to gather.

So I called the ambulance and the police station, who took him to hospital. From there, he was taken to the morgue.

Prosecution: Why were you in this place at that time?

Salah: I am a police officer assigned to carry out an undercover patrol mission in the area.

Prosecution: What were the deceased and his friend Mohamed Radwan doing when you saw them?

Salah: They were walking in our direction. Then they tried to escape when they saw us because they knew that we are undercover police officers, and because Saeed was wanted.

Prosecution: Why did you stop Khaled?

Salah: Because I knew he was wanted in two cases of theft and possession of a knife, and because he tried to escape. I also suspected that the wrapped object in his hand could be contraband or a knife.

Prosecution: Were you able to seize this item?

Salah: I tried to take the thing he had in his hand but he was gripping it. Then he put it in his mouth and swallowed it.

Prosecution: Were you able to determine the nature of the wrapped object? What did you do?

Salah: I tried to take it out of his mouth with my hand, but he had already swallowed it. His friend Radwan told him to hand it to us but he refused, and swallowed it.

Prosecution: What was the condition of the deceased?

Salah: When he fell to the floor, he was choking and his legs started shaking violently. He was holding his neck, trying to spit the wrapped object he had swallowed, but he couldn't. People gathered and tried to revive him. Then I called the ambulance and the police station.

Prosecution: What was your relation with the deceased? Had you any disputes with one another?

Salah: No disputes. I had arrested him more than once before.

Prosecution: What would you say about the visible wounds that prosecutors found on the body and that are described in their report?

Salah: He could have been injured when he fell to the ground after he swallowed that thing. Perhaps also when he fell again as the paramedics were trying to lift him.

The prosecution released Salah after his first interrogation, pending investigation by Sidi Gaber prosecution. The Alexandria appeals prosecution summoned Salah and his colleague again on 30 June for investigation, ordered that they be detained, and officially charged them.

The second interrogation with Salah was as follows:

Prosecution: How would you plead to the charge that you and your colleague beat Khaled Saeed in different parts of his body and caused the injuries reported in the autopsy report? How would you plead to the charge that you have abused the power vested in you and arrested him without justification?

Salah: I did not beat him. I arrested him because he is wanted in two cases of theft and possession of a knife.

Prosecution: How did you know Khaled was sentenced in absentia before?

Salah: The police station has a list of those sentenced in absentia for us to recognize and arrest them if we see them.

Prosecution: What made you suspect Khaled?

Salah: He stepped back and entered the cybercafe when he saw me. And when I followed him, he swallowed the wrapped object.

Prosecution: What did you do when the victim swallowed the wrapped object?

Salah: I opened his mouth to see what he put in it and whether he swallowed it, but I found it empty. The deceased's mouth was open because he wanted to spit out the wrapped object he had swallowed. I put my finger in his mouth to see what was in it, but I didn't put the whole finger in.

Prosecution: What do you say to eyewitness testimonies that you and your colleague forcibly held the victim, beat him and slammed his head into a marble surface and the iron door of the building adjacent to the cybercafe, causing him to lose some of his teeth and die from these beatings? What do you say to testimonies that he did not swallow a wrapped object?

Salah: There is no way we could have done that, because of the large number of people who were there, who would not have let us. Also he did not lose his teeth. He was called "Tooth Khaled" because he had a missing tooth.

Prosecution: What do you say to the three-member coronary committee's report which stated that the wounds in the face and neck of the deceased could be the result of beating? 

Salah: All the injuries were caused when he fell off the ambulance's stretcher and as his head hit the ambulance's door. Also the people were hitting him on the face to revive him. He also fell on the floor when he swallowed the wrapped object. But he wasn't bleeding.

Prosecution: You and your colleague are charged with deliberately beating the victim in various parts of his body, abusing the power vested in you and arresting the victim without justification.

Salah: I did not beat him. And I arrested him because he has two convictions in abstentia.

The prosecution also heard the testimony of Awad Ismail, the second police officer. The testimony takes up 20 pages, in which Ismail denies beating the victim, abusing his power or arresting the victim without justification.

Ismail was first interrogated the day after Saeed's death. He was then interrogated for the second time on 30 June. Ismail repeated the same story his colleague told, and said they had a list of names of persons sentenced in absentia, of whom Khaled Saeed was one.

During the two-hour-long investigation, Ismail said he asked the friend of Saeed whether he was carrying any contraband, and Ismail also said that Salah was the one who arrested Khaled as he was entering the cybercafe.

He added: "I saw Khaled put something in his mouth. Seconds later, he fell on the floor. My colleague was helping Khaled stand up and get the wrapped object out of his mouth. And the people were hitting [Saeed] in the face to try and revive him."

He continued: "A man tried to press his chest, but Khaled's legs were shaking violently as he was choking. It was the people who carried him to the entrance of the adjacent building. He was alive when the ambulance came, but then he died, showing signs of suffocation."

When the prosecution told Ismail that Salah had said that Saeed and his friend were walking down a side street, whereas he said they were walking down a main street, Ismail insisted they were walking down a main street.

When the prosecution told Ismail that, in his first testimony, he had said he helped Salah make the arrest, but later denied it in the second investigation, Ismail insisted that he only arrested the Saeed's friend.

The prosecution ordered the detention of the defendants for four days, pending investigation, and the attorney general referred them to the criminal court, 27 days after the incident. He charged them with arresting the victim without justification, as they had not identified the nature of the wrapped object, and beating him.

The doctor at the scene was actually a student of pharmacy, and he confirmed that the victim died before the ambulance came, contradicting the statements of the two policemen.

tags: Khaled Saeed / Investigation / Police Officers / Prosecution
Posted in Human Rights , Torture  
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