CAIRO: The trial of three police officers accused of misuse of force has been adjourned till Jan. 18.
Claimant Shady Zaghloul alleges that he was tortured while detained in the Sixth October police station in October 2007.
The 24-year-old says that his hands were bound to his feet behind his back and that he was suspended between two beds in the officers’ rooms via a pole placed between his arms and legs.
Zaghloul, a microbus driver who is studying part-time for a law degree, says that police officers hit him on the back, legs and soles of his feet using plumbing pipes and a wooden stick.
His leg still bears the marks of the injuries allegedly received at the hands of police officers Hazem Beltagy Ibrahim and Ahmed Samir Shaaban.
During Monday’s court session, lawyers from the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence, who are representing Zaghloul in his claim for civil compensation, presented evidence that police officers had attempted to cover up the violence allegedly inflicted on Zaghloul.
They did so, Nadeem lawyer Haitham Mohamedein says, by delaying presenting him before the public prosecution office and arresting him, his wife and three-month old daughter to force Zaghloul to withdraw the case against them.
Zaghloul, his wife Noha Mohamed and their daughter were seized by police officers as they left the public prosecution office where Zaghloul had just filed a complaint about threats he had received in the form of mobile text messages which he says were sent by police officers and a lawyer in league with them.
The family was held for four days until Zaghloul agreed to withdraw the charges he had filed against the officers. Zaghloul told Daily News Egypt that on the same day he was forced by police officers to sign a power of attorney for Ibrahim Youssef El-Said, the lawyer who had initially been assigned to represent him.
El-Said subsequently declined to represent Zaghloul once he expressed his determination to pursue charges against the police officers, because, Zaghloul alleges, “of interests with the police.
“I was in the registration office signing the power of attorney surrounded by police officers with guns, Zaghloul says.
Zaghloul says that this chain of events – the drawing up of a power of attorney on the same day that he withdrew charges – “makes clear what happened and substantiates his allegations that he was tortured and subsequently intimidated into silence.
“Defense lawyers tried to mislead the court by saying that my father and I have previous convictions, which is untrue, Zaghloul explained to Daily News Egypt, saying that defense lawyers are attempting to misrepresent Zaghloul and his father as being of bad character.
Defense lawyers argue that Zaghloul might have inflicted on himself the injuries described in the forensic medical report.
Both the defense and Nadeem lawyers made several demands during Monday’s court session.
Nadeem lawyers demanded that a further charge be added to those already leveled against the police officers, that of unlawful detention. On the other hand, defense lawyers for the first defendant, Sherif Metwally, asked that charges of taking part in Zaghloul’s torture while he was detained in the police station, be withdrawn.
According to Nadeem lawyers, the other two defendants carried out the torture inside the police station, while Metwally assaulted Zaghloul by punching him in a public square in Sixth October City during the initial arrest.
Nadeem lawyers further argued that questioning by the public prosecution office of the defendants is invalid, because it was carried out without the presence of a lawyer, and requested that they be given a complete, official copy of the case file.
Defense lawyers meanwhile requested that detainees held at the same time as Zaghloul in the Sixth October police station be summoned as defense witnesses. The court accepted this request.
The case was adjourned until Jan. 18, 2010 in order to produce a copy of the police station logbook. The logbook will be consulted to ascertain whether Zaghloul was taken to hospital during his detention for treatment of his injuries. Nadeem lawyers allege that he was not.