News / Middle East

Egyptian Activist Dies in Police Custody, Triggering Protests

Activist Ahmed Doma shouts slogans against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood during the funeral of activists Mohamed el-Gendy and Amr Saad in Cairo February 4, 2013.
Activist Ahmed Doma shouts slogans against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood during the funeral of activists Mohamed el-Gendy and Amr Saad in Cairo February 4, 2013.
An Egyptian activist detained at an anti-government rally last month has died in police custody, enraging protesters in the country's north and forcing the government to order another investigation into suspected police abuse of human rights.

Twenty-eight-year-old Mohamed El-Gendy died Monday after police transferred him unconscious to a hospital in the Nile Delta town of Tanta. Egyptian police had arrested the member of the opposition Popular Current party at a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square on January 27. Friends and family of El-Gendy said his fatal wounds were the result of police torture.

After the activist's funeral in Tanta, some protesters threw stones at police and tried to storm a provincial government building. Riot police fired tear gas in response.

President Mohamed Morsi's office said he has ordered an investigation into El-Gendy's death. In a statement, the president vowed there will be "no return" to the rights abuses perpetrated by Egyptian authorities during the rule of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 popular uprising.

The Egyptian government also has ordered prosecutors to investigate the actions of Cairo police who were filmed beating a man who had been stripped naked at a protest last Friday outside the presidential palace. Morsi called the incident "shocking."

Opposition groups have accused Egyptian police of using excessive force during more than a week of nationwide protests in which about 60 people were killed. They contend Morsi is trying to gain a monopoly on power for his Muslim Brotherhood movement. Supporters of the government say it has been making sincere attempts to reform the police.

U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Monday that Washington "strongly condemns" the recent violence in Egypt.

"We are extremely disturbed by these incidents, including sexual assaults against women and the beating of a defenseless man last week. We urge the government of Egypt to thoroughly, credibly and independently investigate all claims of violence and wrongdoing by security officials and demonstrators and to bring the perpetrators to justice," she said.

Egyptian media said Monday that Culture Minister Mohammed Saber resigned as a protest against abuse by police, but it was not clear if his resignation had been accepted. Egypt's official MENA news agency reported later that the report about Saber had been denied by the Cabinet, but it gave no details.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
February 05, 2013 5:08 AM
if such things are to continue,its not just mursys cabinet but egyptian government in general will have to be done away with...afterall,people should be in their own homes and knowing their boundaries without necessarilly there being a government

by: Ryu from: Japan
February 05, 2013 3:33 AM the way, last year, you said Mr. Mubarak was so bad, right?
How about Mr. Gaddafi, as well?
Next year, I will ask you how Mr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad was.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs