CAIRO: The trial of a police colonel accused of severely beating a mentally-disabled man was adjourned until Oct. 15.
Ragai Sultan identified colonel Akram Mohamed Suleiman as the individual who attacked him in July of last year. Sultan spent three days in intensive care after the incident, suffering a broken rib and shoulder, a fracture in the neck and bleeding in the brain which necessitated surgery.
Ragai Sultan’s brother Elhamy Sultan told the court Monday that while his 47-year-old brother has a mental age of around eight, the disability has not impaired his memory, which functions normally.
Elhamy Sultan explained that his suspicions surrounding the cause of his brother’s injuries were aroused in the first few days following the attacks, by the behavior of the policemen at the Alexandria Security Directorate where the attack took place.
“When I went to the Directorate the first thing police colonel Ashraf Abdel Qader said to me was, ‘Do you accuse anyone?’
“I said no – because at that time I didn’t know what had happened. Abdel Qader then said, ‘his [Ragai] injuries were caused when he fell down the stairs. He swore twice on a Quran that they hadn’t done anything to him, and offered to pay all of Ragai’s medical expenses.
Elhamy Sultan then told the court that immediately after the attack Ragai described perfectly the man who attacked him, but was unable to remember his name. About five or six months later however Ragai told his brother that he remembered that the police officer who attacked him was called Akram.
“I asked him how he knew. He told me that he remembered someone saying ‘Akram Bey, he’s going to die’ and that Akram responded with swear words and said, ‘leave him to me.’
Elhamy Sultan explained that he took Ragai several times to the Directorate at shift changeover times and told him to identify Suleiman. Ragai, he says, became extremely agitated when he saw the police officer, shouting “that’s him! Make them arrest him!
After the attack, Ragai was eventually taken unconscious from the Directorate to the El-Amiry hospital where someone who did not leave their name, or provide details about Ragai’s identity dumped him and left. He was admitted to the hospital under the name, “citizen.
Prosecution lawyer Mohamed Abdel Aziz pointed to this as evidence that there had been foul play, and that Ragai’s injuries had not been caused by his falling down the stairs, as Akram testified in the investigations.
He also questioned why Ragai’s family had not been notified about his presence in the Directorate or the hospital despite the fact that Elhamy Sultan had filed a missing persons report with the police.
Abdel Aziz also questioned the disparity between the time Ragai is reported to have been detained in the police report, and the time the medical report in the El-Amiry hospital was issued.
Defense lawyer Abdel Aziz Ghoneim described the case as “a series of crimes.
“According to the police reports Ragai was stopped because ‘he was walking on the Corniche with a girl wearing tight clothes.’ Since when has this been a crime? Ghoneim said.
Ghoneim pointed to the “illogical case made in the police report, such as the claim that Ragai was detained while in the company of a woman who he planned to have sex with for money.
He also cast doubt on the claim that Ragai’s injuries were caused when he fell down some stairs attempting to flee from the police.
Ghoneim showed the court pictures of the stairs in the San Stefano area where Ragai was detained, and noted that according to the version of events given by the police, Ragai would have fallen up the stairs, rather than down them, making it impossible for injuries of the seriousness Ragai suffered to have been caused in this way.
A prosecution eyewitness called to give evidence was not permitted to testify after he told the judge that he does not have an ID card. Defense lawyers again lodged a demand that two prosecution witnesses and a forensic doctor be called for cross-examination during the next trial session.
The prosecution team meanwhile lodged a demand for LE 10,001 in civil compensation for Ragai’s injuries, and demanded that the criminal investigations officer responsible for writing the police investigations report be tried for forgery.
Suleiman himself stood impassively in the dock during the trial, occasionally mouthing orders to plain-clothed policemen in the courtroom.
After the trial a group of mentally-disabled people and activists staged a protest in solidarity with Ragai outside the courthouse.