The South Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Monday the trial session of two police officers to 11 August, after the bench ordered members of the forensics department to be present in the coming session.
The two policemen—the assistant to the director of the investigation bureau in the police station and a lower ranking police officer—are accused by the prosecution of torturing a young man to death while he was in custody based on suspicions of possessing narcotics.
Mohamed Abdel Hakim, known as Afroto, was reported to have died in the Moqattam police station on 5 January. The prosecution said that the two policemen, held pre-emptively accountable in the case, are facing charges of assaulting Afroto, injuring him, and possibly leading to his death.
During Monday’s session, the officers’ lawyer, Tarek Said, argued that the report of the forensic department has flaws, requesting that the officials who drafted the report be summoned in court.
Said is known for defending police officers accused of committing violations against citizens in police stations or in protests.
The forensics report, which was published by privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, said that Afroto died due to the injuries he sustained through beatings.
The report also denied that Afroto died due to a narcotics overdose, a narrative that was pushed by some pro-government newspapers and some “anonymous security sources” talking to the press at the time when the incident took place.
Hours after the incident took place, several pro-state newspapers reported that Afroto died due to a drug overdose, citing security officials who denied that he was assaulted.
On 5 January, after hearing the news about the death of Afroto, dozens of civilians, his friends, and family gathered around the police station to protest his death, claiming that he was killed. Forty-three of them were arrested and are facing accusations of attempting to break into the police station and setting police cars on fire.
Last June, the prosecution ordered the detention of four police officers, accusing them of torturing a man to death at the Hadayek Al-Quba police station.
In February 2016, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that police violations have to be confronted by law, following the killing of a driver by a policeman in the Cairo district of Bab Al-Khalq. President Al-Sisi said that the powers given to police officers should enable them to protect the lives, properties, and interests of civilians. He added that despite the “patriotic situations” where the police apparatus has proved to be a valuable state institution, incidents of police brutality should be countered by legislations to stop all such actions.