• October 18, 2009

Protests against police officer who tortured mentally disabled man in Alexandria

Protests against police officer who tortured mentally disabled man in Alexandria

 Dozens of activists from a variety of human rights organizations along with political members of the Democratic Front Party and the Kefaya movement yesterday protested in front of the municipal court in Alexandria, in solidarity with a mentally disabled man Ragai Soultan, who was tortured by a police office.

People shouted slogans such as “No to police brutality” and “Torture is a crime” as citizens chanted calls against the regime and the ruling National Democratic Party.

In July 2008, Ragai Soultan was walking along the city’s promenade when police surrounded him, allegedly believing him to be a child. He was subsequently taken into custody and arrested. At the police station, lawyers say Soliman beat the man after Soultan told him “my brother will defend me.”

Soultan’s doctor, brother and legal guardian, Elhamy Soultan, told reporters that police hit the man on the head with a wooden stick numerous times, causing heavy bleeding before he was transferred to a public hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital to be checked out, the brother was astounded by the site.

Part of Soultan’s skull broken, with blood gushing out, his left shoulder was also injured to the point that movement in the arm is now difficult, the brother and doctor said. Soultan’s head injuries have resulted in further damage to his mental facilities.

The protest was organized to coincide with the second hearing of the case, after being referred to counsellors Fakhry Kharob, Mohamed Raafat Tawfik Abbas and the Secretariat of Anis Misak. The court heard from the victim, Soultan, who identified the accused as the man who carried out the torture and proceeded to relay to the judge the story of his arrest and on Alexandria’s Corniche, and his detention at the Department of Security, where the police allegedly beat him with a stick.

The court also heard from Soultan’s brother, before the prosecutor requested civil rights lawyer Mohammed Abdul Aziz from Al-Nadeem Center to recommend a punishment to be handed to the senior officials ultimately responsible for the police officer’s behavior, at which point the Abdul Aziz recommended LE 10,000 to be given to the victim as compensation.

The court decided to postpone the verdict for the hearing to October 15, in order to call the medical examiner