News World News

Sunday 17 November 2019

Beaten Egyptian changes his story

Egyptian riot police beat a man before dragging him into a police van in Cairo (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Egyptian riot police beat a man before dragging him into a police van in Cairo (AP/Khalil Hamra)

A man beaten and dragged naked by Egyptian riot police during a violent protest has changed his story, telling prosecutors that security forces harmed him - a day after he accused protesters of undressing and assaulting him.

The beating was caught on camera by The Associated Press and the video was broadcast live on Egyptian television late on Friday as protests raged in the streets outside the presidential palace.

The video showed police trying to bundle the naked man into a police van after beating him.

The beating prompted a rare statement of regret from the Interior Ministry, which promised to investigate the attack. The president's office said it was pained by the images and called the assault "shocking".

A new video emerged online on Sunday of Hamda Saber in a hospital bed telling activists that police apologised for any wrongdoing. A man and woman are heard urging him to speak honestly and not to accept any payments for absolving police in any abuse.

Mr Saber was receiving treatment at a police hospital when he told prosecutors that protesters undressed him during clashes, denying police assaulted him. Later, speaking in a telephone interview to the Egyptian satellite channel al-Hayat, he said he changed his story to blame police after pressure from family and friends.

State prosecutors have since moved him to a public hospital.

"I said police are the ones who beat me," Mr Saber tells the TV presenter. "By the time I reached the armoured car, they had undressed me and my pants and were still dragging me."

On Sunday a 20-year-old man wounded in Friday's clashes died in hospital. He was the second to die from the violence that night. The Health Ministry said both were shot in the head and chest. Activists and the opposition accuse the police of using excessive force against protesters, some of whom have attacked government facilities and policemen.

Mr Saber said police were beating him and ordering him to stand up and that he was unable to because of a bird shot injury to his foot. He told the TV presenter he was scared to be arrested and thrown into the armoured vehicle. Mr Saber then said that his family, including his children, threatened to shun him unless he told the truth about the police attack.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News