Taking on police brutality

Anger over Khaled Said’s death

Tarek Fawzy/AP

On Sunday, Egyptian security forces attacked and arrested dozens of demonstrators in Alexandria who were protesting the death of 28-year-old Khaled Said while in police custody.

His family and human rights organizations say he was beaten to death. Surprisingly, in a notoriously repressive nation, a witness has come forward. Hassan Mosbah said Said was arrested on June 6 at his Internet café. “We thought they would just interrogate him,” Mosbah told the al-Ghad newspaper. “But they banged his head against the marble table.” The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights backed up Mosbah’s story: “They dragged him to the adjacent building and banged his head against an iron door, the steps of a staircase and walls of the building.”

Officials claim Said choked on a drug-filled cigarette. But Ahmed Said believes the real reason for his brother’s death was revenge for having a video showing cops divvying up loot from a drug bust. With images of Said’s brutalized face posted online, Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation. “These pictures are a rare, first-hand glimpse of the routine use of brutal force by the security forces, who expect to operate in a climate of impunity,” Amnesty said.