Egypt: The Face That Launched A Revolution

The death of Khaled Said, and the internet, may help topple a regime.

ByABC News
January 25, 2011, 1:58 PM

Feb. 4, 2011 — -- For many Egyptians, this week's attacks on demonstrators, journalists and human rights lawyers come as no surprise. Egypt is notorious for its brutal police and intelligence services.

In fact, the fate of one victim who died at the hands of Egypt's police has served as a rallying call for the Egyptians who took to the streets demanding change.

Last June, 28-year-old Khaled Said of Alexandria posted a video online that seemed to show police officers and drug dealers working together.

"Now it's time for a vacation," one of them says in the video.

The police were outraged when the video was posted, and Said paid the price.

As reported on one of Egypt's most widely watched news programs, Said was dragged out of an internet cafe by two policemen and beaten, in front of witnesses including a store owner and young children.

The owner of the internet cafe described to reporters how the men had beaten Said to death in a doorway across the street, smashing his head against stairs, a wall and an iron door.

A young boy, who said he saw the incident, told reporters, "They kept hitting him and he objected and asked, 'Why am I getting beat?"

"They kill people though they haven't done anything," another girl who was interviewed said, referring to the Egyptian police.

After taking him away, the officers returned minutes later and dumped Said's lifeless body in front of the internet café. The police later claimed Said had suffocated to death when he tried to swallow a bag of hashish.

Photos of Said's contorted face, showing a fractured skull, broken nose and dislocated jaw, went viral on the internet.