Egyptian detainee dies, police referred to criminal court


A Cairo prosecutor referred two policemen to criminal court over the death of a detainee shortly after he was arrested on January 5, judicial sources said.

The prosecutor alleges policemen beat Mohamed Abdul-Hakim to death and detained him without legal grounds. If they are charged, it will be a rare prosecution of members of the Egyptian security forces.

Mohamed Abdul-Hakim, known to his friends and family as Afroto, died in hospital shortly after being arrested on suspicion of drug dealing.

After his death, 43 people were arrested in clashes with security forces outside Mokattam police station where he was briefly held.

A forensics report showed he died of internal bleeding and injury to his spleen. His brother told Reuters his death was caused by severe beating.

Rights groups say police brutality is widespread in Egypt, enabled by a culture of impunity and a string of incidents have triggered protests and riots.

Anger at police was a major factor in setting off the 2011 uprising that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Egyptian authorities deny allegations security forces round up people and torture them in secret detention centres.