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Egyptian opposition group accuses police of torture, death

February 04, 2013|By Reem Abdellatif
  • Relatives of Mohamed ElGindy, a 28-year-old Egyptian activist who died of injuries sustained during or after a protest last week, hold up his picture as they shout slogans against President Mohamed Morsi during a funeral procession in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Relatives of Mohamed ElGindy, a 28-year-old Egyptian activist who died… (Amr Nabil / Associated Press…)

CAIRO -- An Egyptian opposition party alleged Monday that one of its members was tortured to death by police after he disappeared last week from a protest against the Islamist-led government of President Mohamed Morsi.

The Popular Current party said Mohamed ElGendy, 28, was beaten while in police custody after he went missing on Jan. 28. He was found three days later and brought to a Cairo hospital, unconscious and suffering from internal bleeding, according to the Health Ministry.

The medical report cited evidence that a rope had been tied around his neck, his tongue had sustained electrical shocks and three of his ribs had been broken. The report also stated that his skull had been fractured from a blow with a sharp object. ElGendy died of a brain hemorrhage.

Photos of his badly bruised face went viral on social media. Morsi's office ordered the prosecutor-general to investigate the death, saying Egypt should not return to the "violation of the rights of citizens" prevalent during the 30-year autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was driven from power in February 2011.

Hundreds of people, including weeping mothers and families of those who died in protests last week, marched in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday during the funeral procession of ElGendy and Amro Saad, another activist killed in clashes with police.

"It makes us feel that what we are doing will never achieve anything," said Ahmed Aggour, an 25-year-old activist. "We hit the streets, people die, and there is blood, so why do we protest? As a people, it's like we are just cutting ourselves, complaining about how bad it is, but we won't change the system."

Egyptian protesters have likened ElGendy's fate to the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old blogger from Alexandria who was tortured by police more than two years ago, sparking the anger that eventually led to the uprising that toppled Mubarak. ElGendy’s death also follows a video released over the weekend showing police stripping a man naked and beating him during a protest last week outside the presidential palace.

"Youth still tortured and killed in quest for human dignity," Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading opposition figure, tweeted after ElGendy's funeral. "Regime oblivious that violence begets violence and brutality is sure to backfire."

At least 50 people died across the country last week during violent demonstrations against Morsi's government and his party, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Human rights workers said dozens of protesters have gone missing and that others have been arrested in a crackdown by an Interior Ministry that has undergone little reform since the days of Mubarak.

A 13-year-old bone cancer patient arrested during anti-government protests in the coastal city of Alexandria has been denied treatment by police, according to his family and lawyer.

Mahmoud Adel has been in police custody since Jan. 27. The Alexandria prosecutor's office ordered the minor to be detained 15 more days pending investigation, according to his lawyer.

"My son has had bone cancer for two years now. The doctor told us if he neglects his medication, we won't be able to keep it from spreading throughout the rest of his body," said Mona Elsayed, Mahmoud's mother.

"I showed the police his health reports, but the prosecutor told me that he doesn't care and that my son would still serve the 15 days," she added.

The family's lawyer, Islam Abdelkhalek, said Mahmoud has missed 10 days of chemotherapy. "He was beaten as he was being arrested and beaten again in the prison," the attorney said. He added that at least 15 other minors under the age of 18 are currently detained in Alexandria.

Mahmoud's family said Monday that they are appealing to have him released temporarily so that he would be able to undergo his treatment. The Alexandria prosecutor's office did not respond to numerous calls for interviews.

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Times staff writer Jeffrey Fleishman contributed to this report.


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