CAIRO: A police officer accused of beating a man to death was cleared of all charges against him on Saturday by the Fayoum Criminal Court.
Mohamed Gomaa El-Dahshoury died a month after he was arrested outside his used items shop and detained in the Fayoum police station.
In September 2007, El-Dahshoury’s family told Daily News Egypt that he had intervened in an altercation between a boy and a man who turned out to be an off-duty policeman.
His family allege that he sustained fatal injuries after being badly beaten inside the police station by three officers including Police Colonel Moatez Abdel Mongy El-Lawaag, in the Fayoum district.
“We found him in the street unable to speak and only partially conscious.
There was blood seeping from his mouth. We realized he needed emergency hospital treatment so we took him to the local government hospital, Ibrahim El-Dahshoury, Mohamed’s brother, told Daily News Egypt last year.
The Dahshoury family alleges that the government hospital to which the dead man was taken refused to treat him unless the family signed a report stating that his injuries had been caused when he fell down a flight of stairs.
Maha Youssef, a lawyer with the Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence, says that she was not surprised by the court’s decision.
“El-Dahshoury died a month after coming out of the hospital, and the court did not find a link between his death and his detention at the police station, Youssef explained.
“In addition, the hospital he was taken to didn’t discover the internal bleeding and it wasn’t included in the medical report which listed minor cuts and bruises.
“While I did not expect El-Lawaag to be found guilty of the charge of murder, I was surprised that the court cleared him of minor charges such as illegal detention without charge.
Youssef says that the prosecution case was not adequately argued.
“The public prosecution office tends not to plead other than in emergency state security cases, and contents itself with presenting a document in ordinary criminal cases.
“The public prosecution office therefore didn’t address the court, and we weren’t given adequate time to present prosecution arguments.
Youssef says that the family intends to lodge an appeal. The appeal will be heard by the Cassation Court, which only examines the legal (rather than the factual) aspects of a case.
The ruling astonishes us, the head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Hafez Abu Seada, told AFP.
We have enough evidence that there was torture. I d like to see the reasons behind the court ruling, he said, accusing the police of exerting control over the evidence presented at court. -Additional reporting by AFP