Policeman jailed for 8 years for death in custody in Egypt

Cairo, Feb 9, 2016 (AFP) – An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced a policeman to eight years in prison for beating to death a veterinary surgeon in custody, a judicial official said. Mohammed Ibrahim was tried on charges of killing the vet in November in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya, and forging official documents to falsely accuse him of being a drug dealer.

On Tuesday, the court in Ismailiya found him guilty and sentenced him to eight years in jail, the official said. Rights groups regularly accuse both the regular police and secret police of abusing and torturing detainees.

In December, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that police officers found guilty of “committing mistakes” would be punished. Egyptian courts have since sentenced some policemen to jail terms in similar cases. A court in the Nile Delta city of Tanta sentenced two policemen in absentia to life in jail for killing Ismail Abdelhamid in October 2014. And two secret policemen were jailed for five years for beating to death a lawyer held in custody at a Cairo police station in February 2015.

That verdict came two days after an officer got five years for beating to death a suspect in a drug case in the Nile Delta town of Rashid. Police abuses under former president Hosni Mubarak were a key factor in the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster. One trigger for the revolt was the case of Khaled Saeed, a young man tortured to death by police after his arrest in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Mubarak was succeeded in 2012 by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who lasted just a year before his ouster by the army following massive rallies demanding his resignation.

Morsi’s overthrow unleashed a deadly crackdown on his supporters in which hundreds have been killed and thousands detained, and accusations of ill treatment in prisons are common. The interior ministry has said it does not condone torture, but admits that there have been “individual” cases of abuse.

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