CAIRO Two police officers were sentenced on Saturday to 5 years in jail by an Egyptian court for torturing a lawyer to death in a police station in February, a rare penalty against members of the security forces.
Lawyer Karim Hamdy, 27, was arrested in February on charges of taking component in anti-government protests organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that the military removed from power in mid-2013.
He died two days right after his arrest soon after sustaining fractures to the ribs, bruises and bleeding in the chest and head, the initial forensic report showed.
The lieutenant colonel and major with the national safety agency were found guilty of torturing Hamdy to death.
More than 200 lawyers are behind bars in Egypt for defending the government’s Islamist opponents, according to attorneys and human rights groups.
Egyptian police, notorious for human rights abuses in the course of the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, melted away throughout an uprising which toppled him in 2011. They have considering that produced a robust comeback, with rights groups saying police brutality is widespread in Egypt.
The sentence, which can be appealed, comes a day right after nine other policemen have been referred to a criminal court and charged with beating to death a father of four.
He was one particular of at least 3 males who died in police custody in the space of a week in November, prompting riots in his property town and uncommon media scrutiny of police approaches.
Despite the expanding outcry over such allegations of abuse of suspects, critics blame a culture of impunity for police still only hardly ever getting held to account and have named for an independent body to investigate abuse instances.
The Interior Ministry has mentioned it would investigate all abuse allegations.
An finish to police brutality was one of the essential demands of the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Unlike in the previous, the families of those who have died in custody have been vocal in their demands for transparent investigations.
“The verdict is a condemnation of the torture policy in police station and confirms that the victim was tortured and killed by the two officers,” lawyer Mohamed Othman, representing Hamdy’s family, told Reuters.
“The verdict is a message to all those in power who make light of people’s dignity.”
(Reporting by Haithem Ahmad Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein Editing by Alison Williams)