Middle East

Egyptian policemen charged over Khaled Said death

Egyptian women protest in Alexandria, 25 June
Egypt has been under pressure both domestically and from foreign powers

The Egyptian authorities have charged two plain-clothed police officers in connection with the death of a 28-year-old man in Alexandria a month ago.

Witnesses say Khaled Said died after he was dragged out of an internet cafe and beaten up. The government says he swallowed a packet of drugs and choked.

His death has become a rallying point against police brutality for Egyptians.

The policemen are charged with offences that carry a one-year jail term, but are not facing murder charges.

Charge sheet

The charge sheet filed by the Alexandria prosecutor accused the two officers, Warrant Officer Mahmoud Salah and Sgt Awad Ismail Suleiman of "illegal arrest, using physical torture and brutality", the AP news agency reports.

They will be held for up to four days pending a police investigation.

By charging the policemen, the Egyptian authorities seem to have finally succumbed to domestic and diplomatic pressure, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo.

There have been a number of demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria, including one attended a week ago by the former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

The US, EU and human rights groups have called for a transparent investigation.

The 28-year-old businessman died on 6 June in the northern port city of Alexandria.

Pictures have circulated on the internet showing him covered with bruises, his jaws and teeth broken.

However, two state autopsies have concluded that he died of suffocation from swallowing a packet of drugs.

Mr Said had earlier posted an internet video that purportedly showed two policemen sharing the spoils of a drug bust, his family has told local media.

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