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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The death of Egyptian Khaled Said

Talking about Egypt... I often visited the ranting Egyptian "Sandmonkey" and enjoyed his writings. He does not update his blog that often, so that's why I only now encountered a "new" post of him which he published on the 13th. It's... shocking:

What terrifies me is the feeling of helplessness that those victims must feel before they meet their end. The absolute certainty that someone has the power to end your life, and is doing just that, and there is nothing you can do about it. The horror of realizing that this one won't pass, that you won't live to see the morning, and that this person- if we can even call them that- sees you as nothing more than an insect that they can crush the life out of it by the heels of their shoes.

This is precisely why I didn't want to know the Story of Khaled Said, a 28 year old Alexandrian man, who got killed on the hands of two policemen a few days ago. And the story is equally disturbing and terrifying in its simplicity: He simply was sitting in a Cyber Cafe, when two policemen walked inside and demanded the ID's of everyone who was sitting there. When he refused to give it to them, they grabbed him, tied him up, dragged him out of the Cafe, took him to a nearby building where for 20 minutes they beat him to death, smashing his head on the handrail of the staircase, while he screamed and begged for his life, and as people around watched helplessly, knowing that if they did something, they would be accused of assaulting a police officer, which would pretty much guarantee them a similar fate. This went on for 20 minutes. Think about that. You are beaten to death, by those who swore to protect you, while the people in your neighborhood watched silently, and as your pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. 28. Not yet married. Still having the rest of your life ahead of you. No More.

After the police discovered he died, they took the dead body to the Police station, where the Police Officer ordered them to throw it back on the street and call an ambulance, in order not to be held responsibly for him. When his brother- who had the american citizenship- found out, he went and confronted the head of the Police in his neighborhood, who told him that the story isn't true, and that his brother was a known drug offender and that he died from asphyxiation, for swallowing a bag of drugs when the police caught him with it.
(WARNING: it's too graphic to publish it here immediately, so I put a link)
This is Khaled after his "Asphyxiation"
When the story went out, and people saw the pictures, they were of course enraged. About a 1000 people gathered after the Friday prayers to protest in front of the police stations, and there are plans to do sit ins and demos this entire week, demanding that people take action, before they become the next Khaled.
After all the protests by Egyptians who don't buy it that he had died as a result of drugs, there will be a second autopsy. This Tuesday we will know the results.

And then the authorities are more worried about an Egyptian football player whose colleague is Israeli... makes you wonder.

(UPDATE by Elder: Apparently, Said's crime was being a whistleblower about the police themselves. He seems to have had a video showing the police dividing up a drug stash and money and talking about taking some it for themselves. The video is now going around Egypt.)