CAIRO: The final forensic report of a prisoner who died in police custody on May 8 was made public Tuesday by El-Watan newspaper. The paper reported that Ministry of Finance employee Ezzat Abdel Fatah, 46, sustained multiple injuries consistent with a beating which caused his death in Matariya Police Station, where he was being held for investigation.
A few hours after his death, images of Abdel Fatah’s body went viral on social media, showing injuries to his head, neck, legs and feet, as well as cigarette burns. The photos were released by one of the victim’s relatives, Youm7 reported on May 11.
Abdel Fatah had been remanded to custody for four days over charges of fighting with his neighbor.
After his death, the prosecution ordered an autopsy to determine cause of death, and the initial forensic report showed multiple injuries. The final report was issued 68 days after his death.
The report disclosed that there were abrasions on most of the victim’s body parts, bleeding in the brain, fractures on ribs two through nine, and a sternum fracture. The autopsy also revealed bleeding in the chest cavity.
Cause of death was listed as multiple rib fractures, head injury, concussion, and lack of breath.
The final report showed no sign of lash or knife marks on Abdel Fatah’s body. His injuries were consistent with being beaten. As for the brain bleeding and concussion, the report said the victim’s head was hit by a wall or something solid.
El-Watan spoke with the victim’s 25-year-old son, Ahmed. “Thanks to God, who revealed the truth after we lost hope in legal retribution for my father’s killers,” Ahmed told El-Watan. “We received many threats lately from the prime suspect for killing my father. He sent residents of the area who threatened to imprison my mother and kill her in the police station if we do not give the report against him and the investigation assistant.”
The son said officers and sergeants in the police station threaten residents of the same fate as his father.
Abdel Fatah was taken into police custody on May 3, according to press statements made by his family. They said after he intervened to solve a conflict between two quarreling neighbor families, a police officer who was an acquaintance of one of the families began to argue with him.
The police officer allegedly threatened Abdel Fatah and accused him of setting a family’s house on fire, according to the victim’s wife, who spoke to al-Wafd.
“The police ordered his detention for four days pending investigations. I visited him the next two days at the police station,” his wife told al-Wafd on May 10. “He hesitantly whispered to me that he was being tortured.”
Detainees in Egyptian prisons have reported they are subject to torture, including beating, electrocution and sexual assaults, in addition to facing overcrowding. Sixteen human rights organizations signed a joint statement in February, following testimonies of those who had been detained following the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.
The Ministry of Interior publicly denied systematic torture practices on prisoners and invited human rights groups to inspect prisons, granting authorization to the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights.
On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Group law firm released its latest report, “Continuous Crimes,” which said 193 cases of torture were reported in prisons in 14 governorates in Egypt between September 2012 and September 2013.