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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1182, QUARTERLY UPDATE ON POLICE BRUTALITY CASES - JUNE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1182 2009-06-23 13:01 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO6840
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1182/01 1741354
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 231354Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2963
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001182 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2029 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI EG
SUBJECT: QUARTERLY UPDATE ON POLICE BRUTALITY CASES - JUNE 
2009 
 
REF: A. CAIRO 504 B. CAIRO 451 C. CAIRO 243 D. CAIRO 159 E. CAIRO 79 F. 08 CAIRO 2430 G. 08 CAIRO 2260 Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor William R. Stewart for reason 1.4 (d).
1.KEY POINTS -- (C) Since our last update on police brutality cases in March (ref A), we have followed up with human rights lawyers on several prominent cases. -- (C) The case against police officers accused of killing a civilian in Aswan in November 2008 is proceeding slowly. An officer was sentenced in April to one-year in prison for killing a pregnant woman in Samalut in October 2008. -- (C) Credible human rights lawyers told us police hindered the investigation of the prominent torture case against Mona Thabet and beat her husband severely in June. -- (C) A credible human rights attorney told us that police intimidated the victim of a recorded police sodomy into testifying that the video was fabricated.

2.(C) Mervat Abdel Sattar: In October 2008, police killed the 32-year old pregnant woman in the village of Samalut (150 miles south of Cairo) after forcibly entering her home to arrest her brother (ref G). Samalut villagers rioted following the killing. In late April, a court in Minya convicted police officer Mohammed Anwar for the killing and sentenced him to one year in prison. XXXXXXXXXXXX who followed the case closely told us that the conviction was a positive step, and that the relatively light sentence followed the necessary decision to prosecute the case as manslaughter, as evidence showed that the killing was unintentional. According to the HMLC lawyers, the police arrested seven witnesses and pressured them to change their testimony by beating them, threatening them with prolonged detention and withholding medication from elderly witnesses. The lawyers criticized the prosecution for not focusing more on the changed testimony, and speculated that there was collusion between the prosecutors and the police.

3.(C) Aswan Killings: In November 2008, police in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan shot and killed Abdel Wahab Abdel Rezak in his home while searching for a suspected drug dealer. Riots ensued, and police killed an elderly man during their response (ref F). XXXXXXXXXXXX told us in late April that the case has been transferred to criminal court, and they expect a trial to begin shortly. They said prosecutors dropped the case against the police for killing the elderly man with tear gas during their attempt to control the riots because of the difficulty in proving which officer fired the gas.

4.(C) Mona Thabet: Two credible Egyptian human rights NGOs told us that police tortured Thabet in Cairo in early 2009 after she filed a complaint alleging police torture of her husband (ref B). In February, Amnesty International issued a statement describing the torture as including beating, head shaving, burning with cigarettes and severe cutting. The HMLC lawyers told us in late April that an investigation into the case was continuing, but that police officers were refusing to discuss the case with prosecutors. The lawyers said that relations between the police and the prosecution are strong, and can prevent progress on police torture cases.

5.(C) Mona Thabet (continued): The HMLC lawyers noted that the Thabet case represents a new Interior Ministry strategy to abuse those who file torture complaints against police officers. XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that police officers "severely beat" Thabet's husband on June 9. XXXXXXXXXXXX submitted a complaint to the Public Prosecutor June 9, and is waiting for the husband to be transferred for a forensic examination.

6.(C) Sodomy Video: In February, blogger Wael Abbas posted a graphic video depicting the sodomy of a bound naked man with a bottle by two named police officers in a Cairo police station (ref C). XXXXXXXXXXXX told us CAIRO 00001182 002 OF 002 that he was prepared to represent the victim's family in filing suit against the officers, but the victim testified under police pressure that the video was fabricated. XXXXXXXXXXXX believed the police struck a deal with the victim, offering to release him from prison and help him find employment in exchange for the false testimony. XXXXXXXXXXXX understood the video was authentic and the abuse occurred following the victim's argument with the officers, but noted that the victim's testimony made a lawsuit impossible. SCOBEY