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Egyptian Beating Victim Admits Police Assaulted Him

An Egyptian man who was stripped naked and beaten at an anti-government protest in Cairo last week has acknowledged that police were responsible for the assault, which was caught on camera and triggered national outrage.

Forty-eight-year-old Hamada Saber earlier had accused fellow protesters of beating him last Friday outside the presidential palace, where they had gathered to denounce the Islamist-led government of President Mohamed Morsi.

But, in an interview with an Egyptian television network on Sunday, Saber changed his story, admitting that riot police were to blame. The incident was broadcast live on Egyptian television and clearly showed helmeted police beating the man and dragging him naked across the ground.

Mr. Morsi's office called the video "shocking," and the Egyptian interior ministry, which oversees the police, ordered a rare investigation.



Opposition activists accused Egyptian prosecutors of pressuring Saber into exonerating the police while he received treatment at a police hospital. He was later moved to a public hospital, where he spoke to reporters on Sunday.

Saber said he initially blamed the beating on protesters to try to avoid more problems with the authorities. However, he said, his fictitious story brought him ridicule on social media sites such as Facebook and prompted his relatives to threaten to shun him unless he told the truth about the assault.

Egyptian opposition groups have accused the police of using excessive force in response to recent nationwide protests in which about 60 people were killed. They also compared Friday's beating to police abuses under former ruler Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 popular revolution.

Mr. Morsi's supporters say the government is making a sincere effort to reform the police.

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