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Two Egypt policemen acquitted of lawyer’s torture, killing

By AFP - May 13,2018 - Last updated at May 13,2018

CAIRO, Egypt — An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday acquitted two police officers who were imprisoned for allegedly beating to death a detained lawyer in 2015, a judicial official said.

The two officers, a lieutenant colonel and captain with the national security service, had been accused of torturing and beating Karim Hamdi to death in a Cairo police station after a pro-Islamist protest.

The officers were sentenced to five years in prison in December 2015, which they appealed.

Hamdi, 28, had been referred to prosecutors, but two days after his arrest he died at a police station in the working-class Cairo district of Matariya.

A father of two, his death sparked outrage among his colleagues.

The head of the lawyer’s syndicate in northern Cairo, Mohammad Othman, said at the time that Hamdi was arrested for taking part in a protest of support of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Forensic authority spokesman Hisham Abdel Hamid said at the time that Hamdi had died after suffering “blows to several parts of his body with a blunt object”.

An interior ministry spokesman, Hany Abdel Latif, said Hamdi had been involved in a terrorist cell and that he had been arrested in the company of an armed person.

The Muslim Brotherhood was branded a terrorist organisation in Egypt after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against him.

Since Morsi’s ouster, rights groups have regularly denounced the regime of his successor President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi over alleged abuses.

Also on Sunday, Egypt’s prosecutor general referred 278 suspected Muslim Brotherhood members to military trial on “terrorism” charges, a judicial official said. 

The suspects are facing charges including joining militant groups Lewaa Al Thawra, which assassinated an army general in 2016, and Hasam. 

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