The January 2011 didn’t put an end to police brutality; the extent of torture at the hands of the police might even be on the rise, a group of reports released Tuesday by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) claimed.
The human rights organisation has released its reports to coincide with the revolution’s second anniversary.
Magda Boutros, director of the criminal justice department in EIPR, said in a press conference on Tuesday: “Until this day, police brutality remains active. Last week witnessed a number of incidents which took place in different parts of the country, the last being the Shubra Al-Kheima incident.”
Shubra Al-Kheima witnessed clashes between families and police forces Saturday night after a civilian was accidentally shot dead on the balcony of his house by police forces chasing drug dealers.
The report concerned with police brutality outlined different patterns of police violence. The patterns include; unnecessarily resorting to the use of live ammunition, resorting to torture as a retaliatory tool, turning the police force into a gang that delivers ‘vigilante’ justice, and interacting with protests either through the use of excessive violence or refusing to intervene to stop clashes among demonstrators.
EIPR director Hossam Bahgat said that the extent of police brutality temporarily dropped after February 2011, only to begin rising again by mid-2012.
Bahgat said: “We warned that as long as all the police who had committed crimes remain unpunished, we shall return to the same brutality patterns seen before the revolution.”
According to the EIPR reports, out of 35 cases of protesters murdered during the revolution, all defendants were acquitted in 25 cases. The cases involved 186 policemen accused of murdering protesters. 115 policemen were acquitted of charges, 20 were convicted, and 51 are still being tried. Out of the 20 convicted, five received a verdict in absentia, 13 received suspended verdicts and two are serving time in prison.
Another report entitled The Killing is Ongoing focused on 16 acts of police violence which occurred during the first four months of President Mohamed Morsy’s mandate; from July until October 2012. The report stated that 11 people across 11 governorates were killed due to illegal violence by the police and random gunfire and that three people were tortured to death inside police stations.
EIPR researcher Karim Medhat said: “This isn’t a comprehensive report about all acts of violence exercised during that period of time, the real number of torture cases and acts of violence are much more than 16.”
EIPR’s third report is an analysis stressing the prosecution’s shortcomings when it comes to incriminating policemen.
Bahgat said: “The problem isn’t only with the crimes committed at the hands of the police, it also includes the prosecution’s complicity in covering up those crimes and thus allowing impunity.”
Bahgat said the prosecution usually tampers with the available evidence.
The reports come as opposition groups prepare for the second anniversary of the revolution. Political movements announced they would take to the streets on Friday, calling for almost the same demands which pushed people to protest two years ago.