Eight people were detained Sunday on charges of blocking roads and attacking the Imbaba police station on Tuesday. The detainees are family members of Mohamed Samir, 24, a man who died last week in police custody while being arrested.
Mohamed Magdy, a lawyer involved in the case, told Daily News Egypt that the prosecution ordered the detention of the eight defendants who stand accused of surrounding the police station, throwing rocks, and attacking security personnel, as well as protesting. They will be detained for 15 days pending investigations.
The protest at the police station took place when the family of Samir found out he died after being chased by three non-commissioned officers. Clashes erupted between civilians and riot police stationed around the Imbaba police station.
Samir’s family said the victim was a trader stationed in Imbaba selling pigeons and dogs. According to his relatives, a police officer wanted Samir to offer him a bribe in exchange for allowing him to sell at the marketplace, however, Samir refused.
The police officer then called another two officers from the police station, and arrested Samir with the help of an informant, the family said. They then took Samir to the police station and beat him to death, his relatives said.
However, the Ministry of Interior said that the suspect was chased and arrested by police officers accusing him of dealing narcotics. As he was escorted to the police station in a tuktuk, he escaped. Two days later, he was found dead in the Nile, the ministry added.
The ministry asserted that he was not detained.
Magdy said that the initial medical report indicates that the victim drowned, but he stated that they are still waiting for the forensics report. The report will identify the cause of death, and whether or not Samir was beaten.
The lawyer said that the family gathered at the police station, calling on the prosecution to investigate the case, as they believe the police will fabricate the reports in their favour.
“Eyewitnesses, who saw Samir being arrested by the police officers at the market, are being harassed by the investigation bureau, in order to stop them from talking,” Magdy told Daily News Egypt.
Karim Sobhy, a reporter who had been covering the events last Tuesday in Imbaba, said he was assaulted by the police, and then arrested along with scores of relatives and residents from the neighbourhood.
The body in the mortuary had a bullet trace in it and showed signs of drowning, according to Sobhy.