Policeman out of 9 referred to trial over assaulting Matariya doctors
A banner reads "Immediate trial for who insulted Matariya doctors" carried during gathering of hundreds of doctors Friday, Feb.12 ,2016 to attend emergency assembly at the Doctors' Syndicate to discuss police violence against doctors. Photo by Hossam Atef/Youm7

CAIRO: A policeman out of nine accused of assaulting doctors at Matariya Teaching hospital in January was referred Monday to trial, after thousands of doctors staged protests demanding police accountability.

The prosecution, which previously released nine policemen after being briefly detained over the said accusation, decided Monday to refer one of them to a “rapid trial,” Lawyer Tariq Mohamed, a member of the defense team of the policemen, told Youm7.

Two doctors were physically attacked by policemen reportedly for refusing to write a fake medical report on an officer’s injury.

The release decision on Feb. 11 has triggered wide support from social media users to the doctors. It also sparked outrage among doctors, who denounced “police impunity.”

The Doctors’ Syndicate firmly responded by holding an emergency meeting, during which the protesting doctors called for the dismissal of the health minister over “inaction” in protecting them while on duty, and demanded more security measures to be taken at hospitals.

Doctors also agreed on providing medical services at hospitals for free starting from Feb. 27.

The Interior Ministry is facing growing anger over alleged violence by its personnel, which the ministry has repeatedly labelled as “individual mistakes,” denying accusations of adopting systematic abuse.

In a Feb. 19 statement, Interior Ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel Karim said that “any policeman who violates the law will be prosecuted. Policemen are not above the law.”

On the same day, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called for drafting a new law or amending existing legislations to hold the police accountable for abuses.

The statements came hours after a policeman confessed shooting a taxi driver dead in Cairo’s district of al-Darb al-Ahmar on Feb. 18 after a brawl; he was ordered detained for four days pending investigations.

In the aftermath of the incident, hundreds partook in the slain driver’s funeral chanting against “police violence.”

Additional reporting by Alaa Radwan

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