A New Case of Police Torture in Egypt: Is Ahmed Shabaan the next #KhaledSaid?
Last week, 19-year-old Ahmed Shabaan was allegedly beaten to death by police at the Sidi Gaber police station in Alexandria, Egypt, the same station implicated in the death of Khaled Said last June. Shabaan and a friend were arrested on November 7 after an argument when he refused to be searched by police agents at a checkpoint. His body was found in the Mahmoudia Canal a few day later.
According to blogger Zeinobia at Egyptian Chronicles, one of the first to report the story:
“Ahmed’s family and friends said that Ahmed was tortured to death at the Sidi Gaber police station and that for fear of accountability the police agents dumped his body in Al Mahmoudia Lake. For three days they knew the 19-year-old was at the station despite the fact that officials there went back and forth between denial and confirmation. The people at Al Mahmoudia Lake found his jacket and his mobile and called his folks. Then came the letter from the morgue that they found his body there. Officially, the MOI (Ministry of Interior) claims that he committed suicide despite all the torture marks on his body.”
In a video interview, the Shabaan family’s lawyer declared, “The police detained him without a cause, and when we went to the morgue we found injuries on the back of his head and his arm. They were both stitched up. Also, his groin area was bruised. We saw all of this before the autopsy.”
The family believes Shabaan was targeted because of an altercation he had last year with a police officer in Alexandria. He was acquitted in that case, but family members think that a police officer involved in the case had a vendetta against Shabaan.
Ahmed’s aunt, 45-year-old Roqia Aboul Nour, told The Daily News Egypt, “The police didn’t allow us to take a picture of the body because they didn’t want another Khaled Said case.” She is referring to how photos of Khaled Said’s beaten face circulated around the internet following his death, prompting more outrage from angry Egyptians.
Since Shabaan's death, there have been reports that Shabaan’s family has been facing intimidation from the Egyptian police since speaking out. There has been a heavy security presence outside the family’s home. Ahmed Farag, Shabaan’s friend who was also arrested, remains in custody in the Sidi Gabr police station. Very little news has surfaced about his condition.
Yesterday, Amnesty International released a statement calling for an independent investigation of Shabaan’s death and the protection of Farag. The administrators and supporters of the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook pages (English and Arabic) have been spreading news about this case as well.
While no new silent stands have been organized recently to protest police brutality, there’s little doubt that Shabaan’s death will prompt more outrage from Egyptians against police brutality.