Arrest warrant issued against police officers accused of torturing man to death

The prosecution issued an arrest warrant against a commissioned police officer and nine other enlisted officers accused of torturing a man in their custody, 50-year-old cart driver Magdy Makeen, to death on Wednesday.

Makeen’s lawyer Ali al-Halawany told Mada Masr that the arrest warrant followed the release of the Forensic Medical Authority’s report, which confirms his death by torture.

Hany Ramsis, another lawyer in Makeen’s defense team, said that the forensic report states that his death was a result of one or more people standing on the victim’s back, leading to a nervous disruption in the medulla and subsequent clotting in the lungs.  Bruises were also found on the body.

The report contradicts official statements issued by Interior Ministry spokesperson Tarek Atteya, who claimed that Makeen died because of a sharp drop in blood circulation after he and two others were arrested in possession of 2000 Tramadol pills, a pain killing drug.

Atteya’s statements were based off a report compiled by Karim Magdy, the commissioned police officer who arrested the three men, and against whom the arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday. According to Nabil Azmy, another member of Makeen’s defense team, the report states that the three men are accused of hiding 2000 Tramadol pills under piles of trefoil in a donkey cart belonging to Makeen. However, the footage of the police station cameras showed no trefoil and no tramadol.

Makeen’s son Malak told Mada Masr in an earlier interview that Makeen was arrested with two of his friends after a verbal altercation with Magdy. The other men told Makeen’s family that they were detained separately from him in the police station, but that they could hear his screams which eventually stopped. At this point Magdy addressed them, urging them to confess to possessing the Tramadol pills in order to be released. According to Malak they refused.

Halawany confirmed that the two men testified to the prosecution about Makeen’s torture.

He outlined that “the penalty can start with 15 years imprisonment, if the prosecution considers the crime one of beating to death, and can even reach a death sentence if they prove it was a premeditated killing.”

He believes that the course of the case will change now questioning of the two other arrestees has begun, where previously only police personnel were heard as witnesses. Now, he said, direct accusations will likely be made against officers in the Ameereya station where Makeen was tortured to death.

Police violence is a widespread practice in Egypt, with a number of cases reported every month. According to numerous human rights organizations attempts to initiate reform have been consistently resisted by police authorities. However, occasionally police personnel are convicted of what the Interior Ministry Interior claims are isolated offenses.

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