Egyptian police officer handed 8 years in Ismailia torture case

Tuesday 09-02-2016 09:26 PM

CAIRO, Feb 9 (Aswat Masriya) – A police officer accused of torturing and beating a veterinarian to death was sentenced to eight years in prison on Tuesday, an Ismailia prosecution official told Aswat Masriya.

The top official, Amr Samy said police officer Mohamed Ibrahim was sentenced to five years on the charge of "beating to death and torture" and an additional three years for falsifying police records in the case. The sentence is subject to appeal.

The case dates back to late November when veterinarian Afify Hassan Afify reportedly died while being interrogated by the police.

Afify's case attracted public attention, especially as it came as part of slew of cases of alleged police torture.

In a video that went viral on social media, Afify is seen in his wife's pharmacy when four men in plain clothes entered and took him away. There was no violence in the video.

Following his death, El-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence published a preliminary forensics report which revealed that Afify sustained injuries to the back of his neck.

In the same month, fury erupted in the streets of Luxor after the death of Talaat Shabib also allegedly at the hands of the police.

Shabib, 47, was arrested on suspicion of possessing Tramadol, a pain killer used ubiquitously as a recreational drug in Egypt, at a cafe on the night of Nov. 24. Just hours later, his dead body was transferred to Luxor International Hospital.

Days later, Luxor's general prosecutor ordered the detention of four police officers on charges of torturing Shabib to death at the Luxor police station. The order came after the release of the forensics report, which said that "the deceased suffered a blow to the neck and the back, resulting in a cut in the spinal cord and his death."

In another case, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced a police officer and a low-ranking police man to life in prison, in late December, after they stood accused of torturing a detainee to death and using force against another detainee.  

Typically, policemen are accused of "beating that led to death" in torture cases, but this case was a significant development because it marked the first in 2015 in which policemen were accused of violating article 126 of the Penal Code, which explicitly refers to torture as a method to extort confessions, according to Al-Haqanya Centre for Advocacy and Law.

Tuesday's sentencing comes at a time when Egyptian security methods are under scrutiny on an international scale following the death of an Italian student whose body was found tortured by a roadside in Cairo, on Feb. 3. Italy has sent members of its special operations police force to Cairo to participate in the investigation.

Egypt has dismissed suggestions its security services could have been involved.

Police brutality was one of the triggers of the 2011 Uprising, sparked by protests on national police day aimed to draw attention to the police's use of excessive, at times fatal, violence. 

Egypt's constitution prohibits torture in all its forms and considers it "a crime that is not subject to statute of limitations", as per article 52, which means that there is no time limit after which legal proceedings are impermissible.

In a speech on Dec. 3, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that the number of cases of police misconduct is small compared to the number of police stations nationwide.

The Egyptian interior minister has repeatedly referred to allegations of police misconduct as "individual cases". 

facebook comments