CAIRO: A woman who alleges that she was tortured has reported the incident to the Prosecutor General’s office despite threats of physical harm against her and her family if she does not withdraw the complaint.
Mona Said Thabet told reporters during a press conference organized by the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA) at the Hisham Mubarak Law Center on Wednesday, that her husband, Yasser Naguib Mahran, had faced continual harassment by Mohamed Fawzy, an officer based in Shubra El-Kheima Police Station no. 2.
She explained that Fawzy repeatedly detained Mahran – who has a criminal record but has not been involved in any criminal activity since Thabet married him over seven years ago – in an attempt to force him to become a police informer.
“Every time he came back he would have signs of torture on his body, but the last time he was detained – for over a week – it was the worst it has ever been. He had teeth knocked out and his face was full of stitches. I said that enough is enough and filed a complaint with the Banha Security Governorate, Thabet said.
After filing the complaint on Jan. 20, Thabet herself became the victim of a physical assault by relatives of Mahran s ex-wife, one of whom hit her on the head with a heavy marble ashtray.
She did not allege that this had anything to do with the police, but found it strange that when she resorted to two hospitals in the area for emergency treatment, both told her that there were no doctors available to sew up her head wound.
She claimed that the refusal was the result of phone calls received by hospital staff shortly after her arrival in both cases.
Thabet then went to the Shubra El-Kheima Police Station no. 2 where, she explained, she hoped to find a policeman who would accompany her back to hospital and compel them to treat her.
She was instead met by a man she recognized, called Salah, who instructed her to follow him upstairs.
“He took me to a room where a man was sitting and said will there be anything else Mohamed Bey? I realized then that the man was Mohamed Fawzy and that Salah works as a police informer, Thabet told the press conference.
“Fawzy spat in my face and put a cigarette out on my cheek. Nobody makes complaints against me you insect’ he said.
According to Thabet, Fawzy then instructed two police officers who he referred to as Hossam and Walid to cut her hair.
Thabet said they did this, using scissors, while insulting her and while her head wound was still bleeding profusely.
She was then returned to Fawzy who kicked her, knocking her to the ground, before putting his foot on her head. Thabet – whose foot is still in plaster – said that she suffered a leg injury during the fall.
She said that Fawzy then sat her down on a chair and shaved her head himself, telling her to withdraw the complaint or else.
Thabet says she was then left for an hour, and that policemen twice threw water over her when she lost consciousness.
She says that she was only allowed to leave after promising to withdraw the complaint.
With her sister, she headed to central Cairo s Qasr El-Aini Hospital rather than risk being refused treatment in the local hospitals. However, halfway through receiving treatment she says that she saw Hossam Qortan – one of the two men who had cut her hair – and fled.
During the press conference recordings of telephone threats received by Thabet and Mahran were played.
The calls were received while AHRLA lawyer Mohsen El-Behnissi was present in the couple s home, said the lawyer.
In the recording, a man’s voice is heard threatening Mahran’s life and threatening to harm his son Mohamed if the complaint against Fawzy is not withdrawn within 48 hours.
Thabet told the press conference that she is determined to bring to justice her aggressors despite the threats.
El-Behnissi said that several cases of abuse in Shubra El-Kheima no.2 have been reported.