Police Day: Egypt family tortured, beaten: blogger

Police Day: Egypt family tortured, beaten: blogger

*Commemorating Egypt’s Police Day, Bikya Masr is republishing a series of articles that highlight police abuse in the country. This article was originally published December 13, 2009.

CAIRO: The “From Mahalla to Cairo” blog reported that an entire family was subjected to beating, torture and the fabrication of random charges by a police officer in Alexandria. According to Mohamed Marei’s popular and respected blog, Mohamed Ragab, the chief of detectives at the Muharram Bey police station in Alexandria “a whole family’s lives are threatened with displacement and danger, as a father in his 70s and a mother, 60, a girl in her 40s were beaten in the streets by more than 15 secret detectives and three other police officers, headed by Ragab.”

They were then taken to Muharrem Bey police station and “then random charges were fabricated against the family and the daughter, where the officer accused them of resisting the authorities – it is noteworthy to mention that the father is very old and the mother is ill – and they were accused of resisting an armed police force with pistols and machine guns.”

The incident in question began when the chief of detectives received a communication of a fight between Ibrahim Mohammed and a group of owners of satellite and cable networks in their area. The Chief then went to the scene with two officers and 15 plainclothes officers to arrest Mohammed. Following this, they went to “his house without having a warrant from the prosecution and without any legal basis, but they didn’t find him and then broke into his father’s room, who is in his seventies and slapped him on his face, dragging him on the ground.

“All this only to press the father to inform him of the whereabouts of Mohammed, the mother who is in her 60s was screaming for help, but she got beaten and her veil was taken off and [she was] hit in front of passersby and neighbors, causing her serious injury and [police] dragged both the mother and the father to the police car to take them to the police station.” According to Marei, the parents were then surprised with the presence of their three daughters, Sahar, Seham and Hend, in the police station, and “they were held in the custody of the police. It appeared clearly that they were subjected to torture.”

Egyptian and international rights groups have repeatedly said Egyptian police resort to the “systematic torture” of citizens at police stations and in the street in order to get information.

Sahar and Hend were arrested when they went to the police station to file a report against the owners of the satellite and cable networks who had been at odds with their brother. Marei reported that Ragab ordered the girls to be held in police custody until the brother turned himself in.

The other daughter, Seham learned from a phone call from an officer at the station that her two sisters were being held and was warned not to go so that they wouldn’t arrest her too, “but she went there and got arrested, while receiving a barrage of dirty insults and beaten continuously to provide information on the place of her brother.”

Then a record was filed against the parents and their daughter Seham, the report continued.

Police have charged with “resisting the authorities and detention of the officers and informers inside their house, claiming they used gas pipes, according to the claims of the detectives, then based on this record, the parents along with their daughters were referred to the prosecution, where their lawyer Abdel Ma’boud Abdel Kader Toulba, were surprised by the Prosecutor asking him to leave the room, not to be present during the course of the investigation despite the presence of the chief of detectives, who is supposed to be the opponent who was not asked to leave the room.”

Abel Ma’boud said in a telephone call with the blogger that “we [Egypt] became a lawless state. How can’t we, as lawyers, be allowed to be present with our clients during the course of investigations and allow the one we accuse of torture to be present?”

He added that they asked the prosecutor after the investigations to refer the parents and the daughters to the medical examiner in order to prove the incidence of injuries and torture and to move to the house to investigate. They then asked “to go to the police station to inspect it because there are two other detainees without any explanation and that the lawyer asked to have an access to the record, and then went out from the investigation room.”

According to reports from Alexandria, the prosecutor refused the lawyer access to the documents and his entire request for an investigation into the matter.

A few hours later, police released the two daughters, after having detained them for two full days, from December 3 to 5, “without any legal basis, where they were in a very bad state after being tortured, beaten and insulted.”

The blog said that the life of the family is threatened with the loss and displacement of their personal belongings, home and “after the referral of the entire case to the criminal court, it has become difficult to release them, despite being the victim of a police officer, who is supposed to maintain their security and safety, but he used his authority to fabricate charges against them.”

It should be noted that the mother suffers from diabetes and despite this, however, “the administration of the police station prevented her from receiving any medicine.”