Region | Egypt

Egyptian protesters see policemen's jailing in activist's death as a victory

The death of Saeed, 28, due to alleged torture by two plainclothes policemen in the Egyptian port of Alexandria on June 6 has angered opposition and human rights groups who accuse police of abusing the 29-year-old Emergency Law to stifle freedom.

  • By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
  • Published: 19:09 July 2, 2010

Protesters scuffle with police officers during a demonstration
  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Protesters scuffle with police officers during a demonstration against the death of Khalid Saeed in Cairo on Sunday. Opposition groups accused undercover officers of killing Saeed.
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Cairo: Egyptian authorities' decision to jail two policemen accused of "using harsh treatment” to an activist is a victory for protest groups, activists said on Friday.

"Jailing the two detectives accused of beaten Khaled Saeed to death is a victory for the pressure mounted by the protest groups, who have called for uncovering the truth in this case through street and Internet protests,” said the opposition movement April 6 Youth.

The death of Saeed, 28, due to alleged torture by two plainclothes policemen in the Egyptian port of Alexandria on June 6 has angered opposition and human rights groups who accuse police of abusing the 29-year-old Emergency Law to stifle freedom.

Saeed's family says he had been beaten to death outside a cyber café for posting an Internet video clip showing policemen joining in sharing the spoils of a drug bust. A second autopsy, ordered by Egypt's Chief Prosecutor, has cleared police of his killing and said he died after choking on a bag of drugs.

"The April 6 youth and other protesters have proved through their response to this case that they will have the upper hand in the next period,” added the group, which emerged on Egypt's political scene during a general strike called via the Internet more than two years ago.

On Wednesday, prosecutors ordered the jailing of the two detectives Mohammad Salah and Awad Esmail for four days pending further questioning.

The European Union has expressed concern about Saeed's death, a move that drew an angry response from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry that denounced it as an "unacceptable interference” in the country's affairs.

"It is high time the Egyptian regime realized that human rights violations are not a domestic affair,” said Mahmoud Hamed, a political activist. "Such abuses can longer be swept under the carpet,” he added.

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