The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) called for investigations into the suspected beating to death of a 20 year-old conscript in North Sinai by a police officer.
The EOHR said in a statement Monday it condemns the conscript’s death after allegedly being “assaulted by a police officer”. The rights group described this as “flagrant violation to the right to life and bodily integrity”, calling for punishing the perpetrator and bringing him to a speedy trial.
The organisation said “investigations revealed that he died as a result of severe beating at the hands of a police officer”. It added that the conscript was feeling very ill after returning from vacation yet the police officer “forced” him to take part in training.
When the conscript brought up his illness, “the police officer ordered that he be brought a stick from a tree, and severely beat the conscript until he died,” EOHR said, dubbing his treatment as “torture”.
EOHR head Hafez Abu Saeda denounced the incident, asserting the “state must not be complacent in holding police officers accountable when they assault conscripts”.
Forensic Authority Spokesman Hisham Abdel Hamid had told private TV station Al-Tahrir on Friday the soldier fainted and was suspected by a superior officer to be evading training.
The Ministry of Interior said on Friday that the deceased conscript suffered from sudden fatigue and collapsed during training and died amid attempts to resuscitate him. The ministry’s media centre said the suspected officer has been sent to prosecution, where he will held in preventative detention for four days awaiting further investigations.
The EOHR called for amendments to legislation regarding torture in the Penal Code and Criminal Procedures Law, to ensure their consistency with the constitution. Amendments would include provisions stipulating that those convicted of torture must be isolated from their jobs and handed the maximum penalty, especially if it was torture to death.
Article 55/2014 of the constitution bans torturing, terrorising, coercing or physically or morally harming detained or arrested persons. Meanwhile, Article 52 states that “torture in all of its forms is not subject to statute of limitations”.
The conscript belonged to the Central Security Forces (CSF) who make up the majority of riot police, and which was formed as a paramilitary force to confront opposition and student and labour strikes.
The CSF has largely been the main force for the Egyptian government to control the streets since the early 1960s.
CSF conscripts work under extremely difficult conditions and have repeatedly voiced objection to mistreatment by superior officers. Most recently, CSF conscripts organised a strike in Ismailia on 22 August, demanding better treatment and working conditions. They ended the strike following negotiations and after receiving promises of better conditions and opening an investigation into violations.
In 2012, CSF troops in Cairo’s Obbour security camp refused to obey orders, blocked the road, and stormed the gate over the alleged murder of one of their colleagues by a superior officer.
As a part of the military service’s draft policy, the CSF has been one of the most controversial government-run organisations in the country.
The legal office of Gaber Nassar, professor of law and president of Cairo University, issued a report last year saying that the CSF continues to act as “a violent tool to oppress the masses”. The unconstitutionality of this apparatus lies in the fact that Egyptian law asserts that conscription must take place through the army and not the police, the report said.