Cell Phone Justice; Torture Video Leads to Police Convictions

By Krista Kjellman

Nov 6, 2007 10:41am

Two Egyptian policemen caught on tape abusing and sodomizing a male bus driver were convicted Monday in an Egyptian court. Islam Nabih, a police captain, and Reda Fathi, a noncommissioned officer, were each sentenced to three years in prison. "God is great! Thank God!" the victim Emad al-Kebir, 22, said after the ruling, according to press reports. "I regained my rights. I don’t want anything more than that." THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Bloggers Vs. Floggers: Another Video Exposes Police Brutality in Egypt Blotter Egypt: Torture, Sodomy Exposed in Cell Phone Videos Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. The torturing of al-Kebir is only one of several cases of police brutality in Egypt caught on tape, as previously reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com. The videos, taken with cell phones, had been posted by Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas on his blog, "Egyptian Awareness," and on the popular video-sharing site YouTube. While the videos have proved effective in bringing charges against some officers in Egypt, the Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 on Egypt said the organization "continues to receive credible reports that security services and police routinely torture and mistreat detainees." In addition, bloggers and journalists who reveal incidences of torture by Egyptian police officers have found themselves charged with harming the national interest. "Rather than eradicating torture, the government is eradicating coverage of torture and targeting journalists," Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, told ABC News back in January. Zarwan says Egypt needs to change its definition of torture to fit international standards. He explains that the current definition does not include psychological harm, for example. Also, suspects who claim to have been tortured are often not seen by a doctor for weeks, which makes it difficult to establish if and how they were tortured, he says. Another important step would be dropping emergency laws, which give the Egyptian government broad powers and allow it to detain people without charging them. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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