Cablegate: The Terror Suspect Who Beat Himself to Death: A

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. CAIRO 3184

B. CAIRO 2969

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) On May 22, the Egyptian Public Prosecutor announced
that 27-year-old Ashraf Said Youssef, the alleged mastermind
behind the April 7 and April 30 terror attacks on tourist
sites in Cairo (reftels), died in custody on May 19.
According to the GOE announcement, Youssef, who had been
captured on April 29, died from self-inflicted injuries
sustained after he beat his head against the wall of his
detention cell. After sustaining his injuries, Youssef had
been admitted to hospital on May 11. The Public Prosecutor's
statement noted that he had been "notified by a police
report" of Youssef,s death and then "decided to reassign the
forensic doctor to perform an autopsy to ascertain the
injuries that led to his death, and prepare an urgent report
on his findings to present it to the public prosecution." As
of June 1, the forensic report had not been made public.

2. (SBU) Several Egyptian human rights groups, along with a
number of independent and opposition newspapers, immediately
disputed both the Public Prosecutor,s statement and the
circumstances surrounding Youssef's death. The Association
for Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA) characterized the Public
Prosecutor,s statement as "vague" and questioned why the
Public Prosecutor would depend on a police report instead of
waiting for the forensic report to be released. The Egyptian
Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued a statement on
May 22 asserting that it has "strong doubts that Youssef,s
death was not the result of torture or mistreatment." EOHR
further asserted that following Youssef's arrest in
Menoufiyya governorate, he had no access to counsel, no
contact with family, and the authorities had refused to
disclose his place of detention. EOHR demanded a full
investigation into the incident, the public release of the
results, and for "human rights groups and the National
Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to be permitted to interview
the people who were responsible for the defendant during the
period of his preventive detention."

3. (SBU) Youssef,s death in custody was preceded by the
death in custody sometime before April 27 of his cousin,
Mohamed Suleiman Youssef, a 40-year-old primary school
teacher from Shubra Al-Khayma, who had been arrested in the
village of Amar, Qaliyubiyya Governorate, shortly after the
April 7 attack. EOHR and other human rights groups had
called for an investigation into the circumstances
surrounding Mohamed Suleiman Youssef's death in custody.
Press accounts indicated that Ashraf Said Youssef learned of
his cousin,s death on April 27 and decided to expedite
planning for additional attacks, which Ashraf intially
planned to avenge earlier arrests of other accomplices and/or
relatives. Ashraf Said Youssef's arrest on April 29 did not
prevent the April 30 attacks from taking place.

4. (SBU) Comment: Deaths in custody are not a new
phenomenon in Egypt. Over the past five years, at least 44
detainees (including at least 10 in 2004, according to our
Human Rights Report) have died in custody, allegedly victims
of torture. These two latest deaths in custody call
attention, yet again, to the apparent use of brutal
interrogation practices by the GOE security services. End

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