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Monday, November 05, 2007

Egypt court sentences 2 police officers for detainee torture
Jaime Jansen at 8:01 AM ET

[JURIST] An Egyptian court sentenced two police officers to three years in prison Monday for torturing a bus driver [AP report] after video clips [AP report] of the incident circulated on video-sharing website YouTube [media website]. Islam Nabih, a police captain, and Reda Fathi, a non-commissioned officer, sodomized and beat Emad el-Kabir in 2006 while videoing the incident on a cell phone. Egyptian bloggers posted the video on the Internet later that year before it appeared on YouTube. Police said el-Kabir had been detained for trying to stop an argument between a family member and police. He was released and later jailed for resisting arrest.

El-Kabir's case marks the first in Egypt that involved a video clip on the Internet. Other videos of torture incidents have appeared on Egyptian blogs, and human rights activists hope the conviction of Habih and Fathi will set a precedent for future cases. In May, an Egyptian court sentenced a television reporter [JURIST report] with Al Jazeera [media website] to six months in prison for producing a film that depicted police torture. Egyptian authorities said the footage was a reenactment of actual scenes of torture by actors. Human rights groups maintain that torture is commonplace in Egyptian police stations, but Egyptian authorities have denied the allegations. in April, Amnesty International released a report [text; JURIST report] criticizing Egypt for systematic human rights abuses of detainees in its police stations, military camps and centers run by State Security Investigations. AP has more.

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