Man stripped and beaten blames Egyptian police

CAIRO Mon Feb 4, 2013 7:45am IST

Related Topics

CAIRO (Reuters) - A man who was beaten and dragged naked across the ground during a demonstration on Friday told the public prosecution that Egyptian riot police were responsible for the incident, reversing an earlier statement in which he blamed demonstrators.

A video of Hamada Saber, 48, being beaten with truncheons by helmeted police has infuriated the opposition, which accuses President Mohamed Mursi of ordering a harsh crackdown on protests two years after the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mursi's government has announced an investigation into the incident, which came at the end of eight days of violent protests that saw nearly 60 people killed, the deadliest unrest of his seven months in office.

The state news agency MENA said late on Sunday that Saber "had amended his earlier testimony during the investigation, in which he had exonerated the police."

State television had aired overnight a recording of Saber, lying on bed in the police hospital, giving his account of the incident, in which he blamed protesters for stripping and robbing him.

However the widely seen footage clearly showed police beating him with truncheons and dragging him naked across a road.

Saber said he had seen a crowd running and then felt himself shot in the leg.

"I fell over, I failed to stand up again, then they surrounded me in a circle and attacked me," he said. The interviewer asked if he was referring to the demonstrators, and he answered: "Yes I am. They took my clothes off, maybe they were looking for money in my pockets. Then someone among them shouted: 'He is not a soldier. He is not a soldier, he is an old man and you are going to kill him.'

"The soldiers ran towards me. I was afraid of them, but they were saying, 'We will not beat you'. I swear to God this is what happened. I kept on running. They said again: 'Do not be afraid.' I kept running away and they said, 'We are exhausted because of you'."

Egypt's prosecutors' office earlier released a statement saying Saber denied that police had hit him. That statement was received angrily by the opposition which suspected the authorities of intimidating him to exonerate the police.

"That a citizen be dragged in a public space is a crime against humanity. That he be forced to amend his testimony before the Public Prosecution is tyranny. It has dire consequences for justice," Nasser Amin, a prominent lawyer and campaigner for judicial independence said on Twitter.

The prosecutor heading the Heliopolis district in which the case is being investigated ordered that Saleh be moved to a public hospital instead of the police hospital in which he is currently being treated, MENA said. (Writing by Peter Graff and Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Stephen Powell)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage