Two Egyptian Homeland Security police officers were sentenced to five years in prison on Saturday for “torturing to death” a lawyer in custody last February.
Lawyer Karim Hamdy was arrested in February and was accused of arms possession and protesting against the military and the police.
He was taken to the Matariya police station in Cairo, but he did not make it out alive.
The two policemen were arrested within the month of February. After a month, they were released on bail but in April, the state’s highest prosecutor referred them to criminal court
An investigation revealed that the lawyer was “subjected to torture” at the hands of two police officers to coerce him to confess to committing crimes, leaving him with “multiple serious injuries”, which led to his death.
Today’s verdict comes as a slew of cases of alleged police torture that have caught the public’s attention.
Last week, four police officers and five low ranking policemen were referred to criminal court for their involvement in the case of torturing and killing a citizen inside a Luxor police station. The case dates back to Nov. 24 when Talaat Shabib, 47, was arrested at a cafe on suspicion of possessing Tramadol, a pain killer used ubiquitously as a recreational drug in Egypt.
Hours later, his family received information that Shabib died on his way to hospital.
Earlier in November, Amr Saeed Abu Shanab died in custody at Shebeen al Qanater police station in Qaluibya governorate north of Cairo. Abu Shanab is believed to have been arrested on theft charges.
Also in November, Ismailia was home to the death of veterinarian Afify Hassan Afify, who died while being interrogated by police.
On Thursday, Egyptian civil society organisations said 37 people died as a result of torture while in custody throughout the past 11 months.
Organisations including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence told a press conference they were able to document 625 torture cases in Egyptian prisons, out of which 51 were cases of collective torture in the period between January and November 2015.
Police brutality was one of the triggers of the Jan. 25, 2011 uprising, sparked by protests on Egypt’s national police day, aimed to draw attention to the police’s use of excessive, at times fatal, force. Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of this uprising.