Five Policemen, Doctor Sentenced For Torturing Suspect to Death
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ In the first torture conviction in nearly two decades, a court Saturday sentenced five policemen and a doctor to prison for the death of a suspected criminal, newspapers reported.
The decision is a blow to the government, which vehemently denies accusations by human rights organizations that it tortures suspects during interrogations, especially political detainees.
The last major torture case involved 44 police and prison officials accused of torturing suspects arrested after Muslim extremists assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981. The officials were acquitted in June 1988 for lack of evidence. Emergency laws in effect since Sadat was killed give police sweeping powers of detention.
The al-Ahram and al-Akhbar newspapers on Sunday reported a criminal court in the southern town of Fayoum sentenced three police officers to five years in prison. Two other policemen were sentenced to three years, and a prison doctor received a one-year sentence and two-year suspension from work.
The five policemen were accused of torturing Nasser Mustafa Khairi, detained on suspicion of kidnapping and raping children in Fayoum in 1990. The doctor signed his death warrant without reporting the burn marks and other signs of torture on his body.
It was not immediately known if the police officers would appeal.
Anti-government lawyer, Abdel-Halim Ramadan, told The Associated Press the last torture conviction was in the mid-1970s against Intelligence Chief Salah Nasr for ordering the torture of a journalist decade earlier.
Nasr was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Sadat pardoned him for health reasons.
Ramadan said he did not know of any other torture cases that ended in convictions.