Ibrahim Al-Sayed, 38, died Tuesday night in Al-Talbia police station in the district of Giza, just hours after being arrested and taken into police custody.
The Ministry of Interior said Wednesday that Al-Sayed was accused of buying stolen goods from an organised gang and was arrested along with two others. On his way to the police station, having been detained by policemen and informers, Al-Sayed fainted. He died after reaching the hospital; the cause of death was “circulatory failure”.
“Al-Sayed was working in a jewellery store and was involved in buying products stolen from people’s houses,” the ministry said. “Two witnesses [other traders also suspected of trading stolen goods] were there when he fainted and confirmed the incident.”
A source from within the ministry said Al-Sayed was not a defendant but “was a jewellery shop owner who was later found to have bought gold jewellery stolen from houses”. The source said investigations revealed that a woman came to the city of Banha and sold stolen gold to three shop owners: “One of them was Al-Sayed. He was summoned by the police along with the other traders.”
The ministry said the National Security apparatus will investigate the incident and send the results; it is still awaiting reports from the forensic department. The prosecution said Wednesday the death was from natural causes and no crime is suspected; his family did not accuse anyone of causing his death. The family confirmed he had medical issues and problems with his blood pressure.
There have been several cases of people dying in police custody since the start of 2016, causing anger among the general public, prompting police officials to describe such incidents as “isolated incidents” or “individual acts”.
El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Violence of Victims released a report Monday highlighting violations by the Ministry of Interior in February 2016 against prisoners and normal citizens and documented 111 people killed including 65 extra-judicial killings.
The latest incident of death in detention took place in February, when inmate Mohamed Imam was killed in Al-Hawmdeya police station as security forces were trying to regain control during a jailbreak. The police fired a tear gas canister to prevent some prisoners from escaping.
After a police officer killed driver Mohamed Ismail in February, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ordered the parliament to revise legislations to punish officers accused of violent acts against citizens.