Friday, February 15, 2013

Egyptian Organizations Call for Investigation Into the Death of Mohamed El-Gendy

Egypt rights group calls for investigation into activist's death

Ahram Online, Tuesday 12 Feb 2013

Recent death of activist Mohamed El-Gendy prompts Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights to call for investigations into alleged police torture

The Cairo-based Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) has called for an immediate investigation into the death of Mohamed El-Gendy, allegedly tortured to death by police following a protest in January.

El-Gendy, 28, disappeared late last month, only to reappear in hospital over a week later having sustained injuries to which he eventually succumbed.

Police were subsequently accused of torturing him to death at a Central Security camp after acquaintances of the slain man alleged that the activist had disappeared during clashes with security forces near Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The EOHR cited witness testimony, which is already being investigated by the Egyptian prosecutor-general's office, suggesting El-Gendy had been tortured to death.

"When the Egyptian Ministry of Justice stated that El-Gendy had died in a car accident, eyewitness Sherif El-Beheiri, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, stated that the victim had died under torture," the EOHR asserted.

Justice and interior ministry officials stated earlier this week that El-Gendy had died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Lawyer Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, who was present at El-Beheiri's testimony, told Ahram Online that he planned to call for investigations into Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki for the latter's assertion that a coroner's report had attributed El-Gendy's death to a car accident.

"Torturing people into giving confessions violates international standards of human rights," the EOHR stated. "Responsibility for this incident should be assumed not only by the Central Security Forces and the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, but also by the Egyptian Government and the [Muslim Brotherhood's] Freedom and Justice Party."

The organisation went on to call on Egypt's prosecutor-general to launch an immediate investigation into cases of police torture. "Perpetrators must be held accountable," the EOHR statement concluded.

Egypt's Popular Current to mourn dead activist El-Gendy Sunday

Ahram Online, Saturday 9 Feb 2013

The Egyptian Popular Current calls for a moment of silence on Qasr El-Nil Bridge Sunday for Mohamed El-Gendy, allegedly tortured to death by police last week

A moment of silence for slain activist and member of the Popular Current, Mohamed El-Gendy, is to take place Sunday on Qasr El-Nil Bridge near Tahrir Square.

El-Gendy was reported dead Monday after having been allegedly tortured by police following his arrest during 27 January clashes near Tahrir Square.

On Tuesday, Emad El-Deeb deputy head of the chief coroner’s office, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that forensic authorities have discovered that El-Gendy’s death was due to head trauma that led to a brain hemorrhage.

Later on Wednesday, Chief Coroner Alaa El-Asasi told Al-Shorouk newspaper that El-Gendy’s death was not due to torture but rather a result of his body crashing into a solid surface causing fractures in his skull and rib cage in addition of internal bleeding in his brain, chest and lungs.

Meanwhile, two security sources told Reuters Tuesday that the young activist was beaten unconscious while under interrogation at a security camp where he was detained for three days.

The Ministry of Interior denied accusations that El-Gendy was tortured, saying in its report on the matter that he was found injured on the street after he was hit by a car 28 January, and was taken to Cairo's Hilal Hospital where he died some days later.

Egypt protester El-Gendy was tortured: Security sources

Reuters, Wednesday 6 Feb 2013

Security sources say slain activist Mohamed El-Gendy was brutally tortured by the police

An Egyptian activist who died on Monday was beaten unconscious during interrogation at a security camp where he was detained for three days, two security sources said on Tuesday.

Human rights campaigners say the same brutal tactics that helped ignite the uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak two years ago are back under the auspices of freely elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Mohamed el-Gendy, 23, was rounded up along with other youth protesters on Jan. 25, the second anniversary of the start of the anti-Mubarak revolt, and taken to Gabal Ahmar, a state security camp on the outskirts of Cairo.

Gendy remained there for three days and nights when he was "interrogated" and beaten, the sources said, adding that the officers had become more aggressive when he talked back to them.

The interior ministry denied accusations that Gendy was tortured, saying in its report on the matter that he was found injured on the street after he was hit by a car on Jan. 28, and taken to Cairo's Hilal hospital where he died some days later.

The security sources spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to journalists.

At least 59 people have died in the latest street violence to hit Egypt, which has been in political turmoil since Mubarak's fall with the latest demonstrations protesting at Mursi's perceived drift towards authoritarianism.

To many Egyptians, Gendy's case recalls that of Khaled Said, a youth who activists said was tortured to death by police in 2011. Said's case helped ignite the uprising.

"We are seeing a return of police brutality that was the hallmark of Mubarak's rule," said Hafez Abo Seida from the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights.

Morsi's office said on Monday it was in touch with the public prosecutor to look into the causes of Gendy's death.

"The presidency stresses that there shall be no return to violating the rights of citizens, their public and private freedoms in light of the rule of law and the blessed January 25 revolution," it said in a statement.

Abo Seida said there was an apparent campaign against youth activists agitating against Morsi's rule, what they see as the Muslim Brotherhood's grip on power and a police force not held accountable for the deaths of some 850 anti-Mubarak protesters.

Two other activists, Gaber Salah (known as Jika) and Mohamed Hussein (known as Mohamed Christie), killed in violent protests over the past month were known to be active on Facebook pages critical of the Brotherhood.

Gendy belonged to the leftist Popular Current, which said he had also been electrocuted in custody and was left with a wire around his neck.

Doctors at Hilal hospital said Gendy was in a coma when he died, having suffered brain and lung injuries as well as multiple fractures. They made no mention of traces of electrocution or strangulation.

"He was unconscious when he was delivered to Hilal hospital," a medic there told Reuters.

Since Morsi took office seven months ago, little has been done to overhaul the national police or rehabilitate its leadership, which had been accused by international and local human rights groups of perpetrating routine abuses.

Activists and Egyptian officials say Mursi has taken few steps to hold officers accountable, fearing a backlash from the powerful police generals who run the interior ministry.

Abo Seida said Mursi and Prime Minister Hisham Kandil had given the police a license to use force by ordering them to deal firmly with any protests that turned violent.

"President Morsi has been trying to motivate the police force and encourage them to return to policing the streets to establish order. But clearly these officers are not equipped with the right tactics to deal with protesters," he said.

The recent tide of unrest has been fuelled by anger at what activists see as Morsi's attempt to monopolise power since his election, as well as a sense of social and economic malaise that has settled over Egypt since Mubarak's ouster.

A state of emergency remains in force in three cities near the Suez Canal that have also witnessed protests against Morsi and the Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled him to power in a June election.

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