The trial of 23 defendants for publishing “torture” clips from a police department in Al-Salam City is adjourned for one month
Last Saturday, May 28, 2022, the first trial session of 23 defendants, including a child, in connection with El-Salam-I Felonies no. 8846 of 2022, was held. The defendants are accused of publishing and broadcasting video clips showing the torture of detainees at the Al-Salam City I police department (East Cairo) at the beginning of this year. After the first session, the criminal court adjourned the case to its session on June 27th for review. The court also decided the assignment of a social worker for the detained minor defendant.
According to the order referring the twenty-three defendants to trial, the Public Prosecution charged 19 defendants who were being held at Al-Salam City I police department - including a child - with “disturbing public security, spreading terror among people, and harming the public interest.” The referral order attributed the accusations to “their carrying and possession of two mobile phones, which were used in filming and broadcasting torture incidents,” which the prosecution described as “false news.” As for the remaining four defendants - including a woman - they are friends and acquaintances of the detainees, and they were charged with "spreading false news and sharing these video clips to people outside the country."
The incidents of the case date back to January 24, 2022, when the British newspaper The Guardian published a report that it had obtained two video clips of a number of detainees at the Al-Salam City I police department. In the first clip, two individuals are shown suspended from their arms from behind, while the second clip shows a number of detainees who were injured and bruised, by a number of officers whose names were mentioned in the same video. The Ministry of Interior did not publish a response on its official platforms, but on the same day, press statements were published attributed to security sources denying the authenticity of the video clips, describing them as “fabricated videos.” Thus, the Ministry of Interior did not treat the “videos” as a report calling for investigation, and did not announce any form of investigations, whether internally with officials in the department, or even with detainees to investigate their conditions or decide on complaints against the officers whose names appear in the video clip. It should be noted that statements of both the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution later were limited to responding to the second clip, without focusing on the first clip, in which the two semi-naked individuals are shown suspended from their arms.
On February 15, the Egyptian Public Prosecution published a statement declaring that its investigations resulted in “a false allegation of torturing detainees in Al-Salam police station,” after interrogating one detainee at the police station who confessed, according to the statement, to his involvement in smuggling a mobile phone to the detention facility. The Public Prosecution statement added that the detainees seized the phone and "agreed to inflict injuries on some of them" and "claimed, contrary to the truth, that they had been subjected to physical torture by police officers in the station, and one of them broadcasted it."