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Cablegate: Egypt's Courts Continue to Convict Police in Abuse

VZCZCXYZ0022
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0031 0081541
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081541Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7856
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 000031

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

NSC STAFF FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT'S COURTS CONTINUE TO CONVICT POLICE IN ABUSE
CASES

REF: CAIRO 3214

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) On January 4, an Alexandria court reportedly
convicted a police major and two junior policemen of abusing
a detainee in April 2007. The major reportedly ordered his
men to beat the detainee and then force him to appear
publicly in women's clothes. The court sentenced the major
to five years in prison. The two lower-ranking officers
received one-year sentences. The three are apparently in jail
and have the right to appeal.

2. (U) This is the third instance since November of an
Egyptian court convicting police officers for abusing
detainees. On November 5, two police officers were convicted
of sodomizing a bus driver and sentenced to three years in
prison (reftel). According to media reports, on November 27,
three policemen were convicted of beating a man to death in a
police station in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura and
sentenced to seven years in prison.

3. (SBU) Our human rights contacts view this case as a
positive development. A local representative of Human Rights
Watch said that while he is not yet ready to declare this a
"trend," he found this case to be a "very interesting
development." A human rights lawyer told us that a few years
ago, he never would have dreamt of a police officer being
sentenced to prison. He called the conviction a "great way"
to start 2008. He also said that the five-year sentence will
result in the major's dismissal from the police force.
Another human rights activist praised the Ministry of
Interior's internal affairs unit and said he recently had
noticed a change in police officers' behavior when he visited
stations. He also found it noteworthy that the length of the
sentence will probably result in the major's dismissal.


Ricciardone

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