Lawyers can attend and observe the hearings of police officers investigated for the recent killing of a lawyer Karim Hamdy, according to a statement from the office of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat.
Hamdy was reportedly killed Tuesday following a period of detention at Matariya police station. In the surrounding days, two other men died at the same police station, with all three believed to have died from abuse and torture at the hands of officers at the station.
Lawyer Khaled Ali, a founding member of the Bread and Freedom Party and part of the Shura Council trial defence, has petitioned Barakat to lift the media gag on the case and allow lawyers to observe. Ali and other lawyers have also called on Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim to address the hearing of national security officers accused in the death. However, the ban on media covering the trial will remain in force.
On Sunday, a north Cairo court extended the detention of two policemen accused in the death of Hamdy for a further 15 days pending investigations into torture. Matariya has been the seat of some of Cairo’s strongest Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood-supporting protests and witnessed bloody clashes in the days around the fourth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
The station has been called a ‘slaughterhouse’, due to its reputation for detainee abuse. Hamdy was detained on accusations of involvement with the outlawed Brotherhood and involvement in Islamist protests.
The Cairo Lawyers’ Syndicate staged a protest Sunday against the killing of Hamdy, police brutality and the descent of rule of law in the country. The Syndicate had previously complained about the media gag and lack of transparency in the case. A committee established by the association to monitor the lawsuit had been denied attendance at a court session that was transferred to the Police Academy without notification.