The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said it was following the case of Hamdy Mohamed Mahmoud Al-Kalawy, a 61-year-old who died while in police custody earlier this month.
Al-Kalawy, according to EIPR, was arrested on 31 October when police stormed a café. When the father of eight provided his identification card to security forces, police noticed a large sum of money, approximately EGP 3,000, in his wallet and decided to detain him.
Al-Kalawy’s family was unable to find him until 1 November when it found out he was being held at Zefta police station, but were not allowed access to him when family members came to the station, but learned he was scheduled to face prosecution the following day.
However Al-Kalawy’s brother was then summoned to the police station, where he was informed of his death and told to go to a hospital in Tanta to pick up the body. A burial permit was issued and a forensic report was set to be released 40 days later.
The rights group said that Al-Kalawy’s body was found with lots of bruising on the neck and shoulders, a scratch on the elbow and signs of blows to the sides, signs according to the group that pointed to possible torture inside the police station.
“EIPR emphasises that such incidents are a strong indication that there is a change in the practices of the Ministry of Interior,” said the group in a Monday press release.
“If continued political will to create radical reforms of the Ministry of Interior is absent…citizens will remain vulnerable to such crimes,” said EIPR.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) said the General Prosecution and the Ministry of Interior needed to carry out serious investigation of allegations of torture and fairly compensate those affected by police brutality in a report titled “The crime of torture and continued impunity after the 30 June Revolution.” The report included recommendations to the General Prosecution, interior ministry, interim government, and the chairman of the Forensic Medical Authority.
EOHR called on the government to take legislative action to protect citizens from “the assault on public rights and freedoms protected by Egyptian and international law” and see to it that the penal code be consistent with international norms, and to also ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which allows for international experts to conduct regular visits to places of detention and make recommendations.