The latest fatality in police custody was reported earlier this week when a young man was reportedly tortured to death after being detained for over two weeks at the Haram Police Station in the Giza governorate.
Coroners and forensic specialists are currently conducting an autopsy on the victim’s body following his family’s claims of physical abuse, while district prosecutors have initiated investigations regarding the death.
According to preliminary investigations by prosecutors, the victim, identified as Mahmoud Sayyed, was arrested nearly three weeks ago without a warrant and held at the Haram Police Station after he was accused of the murder of his grandmother.
In an interview with Mada Mada, Samy Fikry, a Central Security Forces conscript and a relative of the victim, said that the accusations against Sayyed were filed by officers at the Haram Police Station who “accused him of stealing from his grandmother and killing her.”
According to the relative, following the death of the grandmother, the family was surprised when police forces arrested the victim and his brother and transported them to Haram Police Station.
“Five days later the mother visited her two sons at this station, where she was shocked to find that the face of one of her sons bore evidence of severe torture,” Fikry continued. In response, the mother filed a complaint at the state-run National Council for Human Rights, citing that her son had been subject to torture at the hands of police personnel.
“On the same day the mother filed the complaint, policemen came to her home and asked, aren’t you the woman who complained against us?” Fikri said. “Come along with us then.” The mother was then detained for two days at the Haram Police Station before being released, without any clear charges being leveled against her.
According to the relative, police relocated Mahmoud Sayyed’s brother to the Omraneya Police Station, also in Giza, “after which we received a phone call on the same day informing the family to report to the Haram Police Station as the other son was in poor health.”
“When the parents arrived at the Police Station they were informed that their son had died as a result of a sharp drop in his blood circulation, and that his body had been transported to the Zeinhom Morgue,” Fikry explained. “Upon their arrival, the morgue’s administration refused to let them inspect the body.”
The parents then reportedly filed a complaint to the prosecution accusing police of torturing Sayyed to death.
Citing an anonymous source involved in the investigation, the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper reported on Tuesday that prosecutors ordered the confiscation of the Haram Police Station’s surveillance cameras.
All personnel at the Haram Police Station have been summoned for questioning by prosecutors, Al-Watan added, after evidence surfaced that Sayyed’s body bore marks of abuse.
Citing an unnamed senior officer from the Giza Security Directorate, the privately owned Masrawy news portal reported on Wednesday that allegations of torture or physical abuse in custody are being refuted. “There is no truth to it,” claimed a senior police source, who added that the findings of “forensic medical examiners will clarify everything. Let us be a little bit patient.”
Despite the ongoing investigations, another security source from the Giza Criminal Investigations Unit told Masrawy that personnel at the Haram Police Station physically abused Sayyed in any way. The source claimed instead that the victim had been banging his head against a wall while in detention, and that police had attempted to restrain Sayyed from harming himself by handcuffing him and calling an ambulance, but that he died before it could arrive
According to a report published by independent NGO Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, 16 individuals have died in detention in the month of January 2017 alone, while 49 were subjected to torture at the hands of police.