CAIRO: Residents of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor have staged a rally in protest at the death of a man in police custody, the latest in a string of killings by security forces, the state-owned newspaper reported.
The protest on Tuesday came almost a week after the death of Talaat Shabib al-Rashidi, who was picked up by police while sitting in a cafe in the village of Awamiyya.
A few hours after police took him, Rashidi’s family was summoned to collect his body and handed a copy of his forensic report.
Security officials said the 47-year-old was being held for the illegal possession of painkillers, and later fell in and died in hospital, the report in Ahram said.
Rashidi’s family disputed that account and said that he had died inside the police station.
Following his death on Saturday, police attempted to apologise to the victim’s family but the relatives rejected that move and continued to call for revenge.
The death is the latest to occur in police detention from suspected torture. Security forces have been accused of torturing members of the opposition, as well as ordinary Egyptians without political affiliation.
In June, Tarek Khalil, a Muslim Brotherhood member, went missing and his body was returned to his family with signs of torture after he was kidnapped by security forces.
Amnesty International has condemned what it calls an “entrenched impunity and a near total lack of accountability for abuses” among Egypt’s security forces.
“Years of impunity have emboldened the Egyptian security forces, who have effectively been granted the green light to continue torturing and otherwise ill-treating detainees without facing any consequences,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, of Amnesty.
The torture and killing of student Khaled Saeed by police officers in 2010 helped galvanise protests that eventually led to the downfall of Egypt’s then president, Hosni Mubarak.