The attorney general of prosecutions in South Cairo has ordered the reopening an investigation into the death of Essam Atta, a military detainee who died in Tora prison in October 2011, according to the man’s lawyer, Sayed Fathy.
“The decision to reopen the case followed the finding of new evidence in the case,” Fathy, told Daily News Egypt. Fathy, also the director of Al-Hilali institute for freedoms, said one of the prisoners who witnessed Atta’s death came forward with testimony at the Real Estate Publicity Department. Fathy said the prisoner corroborated claims that Atta was tortured to death.
Atta was arrested in February 2011 near Al-Moqattam heights, where he was involved in a fight and accused of stealing an apartment. The 23 year old was tried in a military tribunal and sentenced to two months imprisonment.
In October 2011, right after his mother had visited him, security officials’ claimed that Atta became sick and started throwing up. He was taken to Al-Qasr Al-Eini Hospital where he died. The cause of death was certified as resulting from ingesting drugs. According to the report issued by the prison’s administration, another prisoner testified that Atta had swallowed a drug, while two more prisoners said they saw him suffering extreme nausea following his mother’s visit.
Atta’s family challenged the official claim, claiming their son was tortured to death after being caught smuggling a SIM card. Nevertheless, Atta’s case was suspended for lack of evidence.
“Another new piece of evidence is the presence of a second advisory report issued by an independent forensic physician,” Fathy added. “The report proves that it was impossible for Atta’s death to have occurred as described by the official report.”
Though the report was not made by an official forensic pathologist, Fathy was confident the judiciary could refer to it during the retrial.
The investigation starts on Wednesday, where Atta’s brother, Mohamed, has been called to testify.
“I hope this investigation proves to be more fruitful than the previous one,” Fathy told Daily News Egypt. “I hope that the prosecution deals with the case with more precision this time, listening to the new witnesses with seriousness and without a prior position.”