Six years ago the Ministry of Interior and the Forensic Medicine department justified the killing of Khaled Said by saying he had swallowed a package of narcotics.
A picture of the cut, bruised, and broken skull of Said was circulated online to prove otherwise, causing a nationwide uproar. Unlike, former cases of torture, Said was a member of the middle class, who was educated and well off. Following the tragic incident, some pro-government media pushed the argument that he was a thug and a drug dealer.
An independent forensic report showed the packet was forced into his throat shortly after his death.
After foreign and domestic pressure, the police officers accused of beating Said were referred to court. They received 10 years in prison.
Like any torture case that happens in police custody, perpetrators are often never persecuted unless support is received from civil society and media.
Said was viewed as a victim of police brutality. His incident is widely viewed as one of the main reasons for igniting the 25 January Revolution in 2011.
Six years later, victims of torture continue to bear the weight of Egypt’s closed political space, with state institutions asserting that the violations are “individual acts”.