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Two Egyptian police officers charged with brutal death of blogger/activist

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 14:50 EDT
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CAIRO — Two police officers were jailed on Wednesday for four days pending an investigation into the death of a 28-year-old man reportedly killed after they beat him to death, a security official said.

“The prosecutor in (the northern city of Alexandria) has ordered the detention for four days of Mahmud Salah Amin and Awad Ismail Suleiman, pending an investigation into the circumstances of the death of Khaled Said,” the official told AFP.

The two are accused of “excessive use of force” but are not facing murder charges.

Two autopsies ordered by Egypt’s state prosecutor concluded that Khaled Said had died of asphyxiation after swallowing a bag of marijuana when he saw the police officers approaching on June 6.

According to witnesses, Said was killed when plainclothes policemen dragged him out of an Internet cafe and beat him to death on a busy Alexandria street.

Rights groups have rejected the official account, and Said has since become a symbol for rights activists against police brutality, for which Egypt has been criticised at home and abroad.

Graphic pictures of a bruised and battered Said had appeared on social networking websites, sparking public outcry and condemnation from local and international rights groups.

His death sparked several protests in Cairo and Alexandria.

The Associated Press adds, “The charge sheet filed by the Alexandria prosecutor accused the two officers, Warrant Officer Mahmoud Salah and Sgt. Awad Ismail Suleiman, of ‘illegal arrest, using physical torture and brutality.’”

Lawyer Mohammed Abdel-Aziz of the Al-Nadim center for victims of torture said Wednesday that each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of one year or a 200 pound ($36) fine, but that was not enough. He said the killing was planned in advance, and the police officers should be charged with more serious crimes.

Said’s brother, Ahmad, agreed. “We insist that they (police) killed him, and we demand that the two policemen be charged with premeditated killing,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Alexandria.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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