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April 6 activist says beaten by police officer

By-Heba Fahmy-Daily News Egypt | 9 June 2011

CAIRO: Member of the April 6 Youth Movement Salma Al-Sawy met Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Wednesday and handed him a complaint against security forces for detaining and beating her, following a protest commemorating the death of Khaled Saeid on Monday evening.

Al-Sawy, also a former Muslim Brotherhood member, told Daily News Egypt that Sharaf promised to hand over the complaint to the interior minister who will take the necessary procedures against the officers who detained and beat her.
 
Al-Sawy posted a note on her Facebook page on Tuesday claiming that she was stopped by a police officer in Sixth of October City and taken, blindfolded, to a place where she was interrogated about members of the April 6 movement.
 
She claimed that an officer beat her when she denied that prominent member Asmaa Mahfouz, was abroad to receive foreign aid to help political movements and parties topple the ruling military council.
 
“He beat me with a stick on my hands and legs,” Al-Sawy told DNE, adding that she was detained for around six hours.
 
She said that the officer shouted at her saying, “Do you think the military council or whoever comes after them will do you any good?”
 
“Whoever makes a mistake will be brought here and punished and whoever doesn’t make a mistake will also be brought here and framed [for a crime],” he allegedly told her.
 
Al-Sawy tried to reason with him, but he then beat her with the stick over her head until she fell unconscious, she said. After she regained consciousness, the officer said he would let her go because he didn’t like listening to her sobs.
 
He warned her not to escape, adding that they would find her no matter where she went.
 
Al-Sawy’s blindfold was then taken off and she found herself in front of the State Security headquarters in Sixth of October city.
 
The interior ministry was quick to deny Al-Sawy’s claims in a statement on Wednesday, saying she wasn’t stopped in any police point. The interior ministry said it rejects such practices which contradict with the ministry’s current policies that rely on transparency and the rule of law.
 
The ministry called on Al-Sawy to take the necessary legal procedures to investigate her complaint.
 
The infamous State Security Investigations apparatus, notorious for torturing and even murdering civilians under the former regime, was dismantled in March, as a response to the people’s pressing demands.
 
A new security arm called National Security, was established to guard the domestic front and battle terrorism, in accordance with the law, the constitution and human rights principles.
 
The interior ministry stated that the new apparatus would “serve the country without interfering in citizens’ lives or [violating] their right to political participation.”
 
“These statements aren’t true; the state security apparatus is back in full force,” Al-Sawy said.
 
She blamed the divisions within political powers for her ordeal. She explained that these divisions led to divisions among the government, the interior ministry and the military.
 
“We all need to unite and continue our journey [towards democracy],” she said.
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