First trial session of 9 policemen over assaulting doctors adjourned
Judges of Cairo criminal court during the hearing of Qatar Espionage case, May, 7, 2016. Youm7

CAIRO: The first trial session of nine low-ranking policemen over assaulting doctors was adjourned Tuesday to June 7 due to the absence of the defendants, Youm7 reported.

The reason for the defendant’s absence is not yet clear.

On May 18, the defendants were referred by the prosecution to an urgent criminal trial for verbally and physically assaulting doctors at Matariya teaching hospital in Cairo in January.

The incident took place when policemen in plainclothes allegedly went to the hospital to issue a fake medical report. After the doctors rejected it, an altercation ensued and the policemen attacked two doctors.

The attack stirred anger among thousands of doctors who then protested demanding an end to “police impunity” and called for the assaulting policemen to be quickly held accountable.

The Medical Syndicate 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.

In April, the syndicate addressed the Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal demanding the issuance of legislation to criminalize attacks on medical facilities, the syndicate said in a Saturday statement.

The syndicate further called on the parliament to amend terms of a draft law on health insurance which, according to the syndicate, has a negative impact on medical staff.

It also demanded the cabinet to issue instructions that oblige medical institutions and the police to report any attacks on medical facilities or staff as an “assault on a governmental utility, and public employees on duty.”

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