CAIRO: Lawyer Imam Afify, 63, passed away Wednesday after experiencing a brain hemorrhage that put him in a coma at the Matariya police station more than a week ago.
Lawyers Montasser al-Zayyat and Mohamed Mokhtar said their colleague was arrested at a protest in Matariya, a blue-collar neighborhood in eastern Cairo, and then beaten at the station until he suffered a stroke.
“Locals handed [Afify] over to the station after they severely beat him,” a security source at Cairo Security Directorate told Youm7.
Some Matariya residents apprehended Afify about 12 days ago after they said they saw him distribute cash to Brotherhood protesters during a demonstration in Matariya, the source said.
Afify denied he belonged to the Brotherhood, but the prosecution ordered his detention for four days, and then renewed his detention for 15 days; his health deteriorated seven days ago and was admitted into a hospital, he added.
Street protests have been common in Matariya since the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi; during the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution the area experienced 12 deaths of Egypt’s total 23, according to the Ministry of Health. The figure includes protesters, policemen and persons planting explosives.
Not the first alleged torture victim in Matariya
Afify is not the first lawyer feared to be a victim of torture at the police station; June 6 has been fixed as a date for the first hearing in the case of police personnel who allegedly tortured and ultimately killed lawyer Karim Hamdy, 26, at Matariya’s police station.
Two National Security police officers will be standing trial in Hamdy’s case. The young lawyer had been arrested after another defendants identified him as having given orders to commit violent acts against the police and public properties.
Hamdy appeared on social media in a video that was released after his death, which seems to have been recorded by policemen at the station. In the video, he says while shifting his eyes rapidly, he had an accident last year and admits to possessing firearms and giving instructions to the other defendant to “protect” Friday pro-Brotherhood protests from the police, but denies he ordered him to take to streets on Jan. 25.
Hamdy, who was filmed on a couch, appeared healthy, albeit with a scab on the side of his nose.
“Since June 2014 until this day, I have been in my home and haven’t been moving. But he went out, and I, too, told him to go out. He went out and took to marches, if the police dispersed the protests, he struck at them,” he said, swallowing.
“The [firearms] have been with me [in my home] for a while; I do not do anything with them. If you notice, they look new; no one did anything with them,” he added, shaking his head and looking up to the person he was addressing.
Pictures of Hamdy’s bruised dead body also surfaced on social media. The forensic report showed he sustained fractures to the ribs, among other fatal injuries.
Officer who ran Matariya police station assassinated
Investigations Inspector of East Cairo Colonel Wael Tahoun, who was the investigation chief of Matariya police station for years, was assassinated Tuesday evening in Ain Shams.
Tahoun and conscript Ibrahim al-Menshawy were shot inside a car by two assailants on a motorbike, resulting in their death, the Ministry of Interior stated. The conscript worked as Tahoun’s driver, according to Youm7. Thousands of conscripts on a yearly basis are tasked with driving their superiors.
The assailants shot at Tahoun’s car for over five minutes from a close range, Cairo Security Director Osama Bedair told Youm7. Another security source told Youm7 the perpetrators detonated a bomb in a trash can 500 meters away from the murder scene to facilitate their escape, injuring a woman and her child.
Official security sources claimed the Brotherhood has formed groups responsible for assassinations, and that they were able to detect Tahoun’s movements despite security efforts exerted, Youm7 reported.
A Youtube video dating to March 2011 resurfaced on social media, purporting that Tahoun resorted to the Imam of a nearby mosque after Matariya police station was burned down Jan. 28, 2011. The comments, as old as three years, accused Tahoun of corruption and cursed him.
Another Youtube video dating back to May 2011 shows a young man who presents himself as lawyer Ahmed el-Samman saying that some officials who “wronged the people of Matariya” still hold their positions.
“Matariya investigations chief Lieutenant Colonel Wael Tahoun has had a great deal of violations over the past years against people, and has had irregularities in the past years, known and observed by all people. He committed huge violations on Jan. 28 [such as] striking people [and] protesters at Matariya square,” Samman said in the video.
The police had known that Tahoun was wanted dead by the Brotherhood since January, the security sources told Youm7.
In January, the Ministry of Interior ordered its personnel to delete any data referring to their job and any pictures in their uniforms from social media for security reasons.