Officials: Egyptian policemen detained over detainee's death

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian prosecutors ordered four policemen to be detained pending an investigation into the death of a young man while in detention, two judicial officials said on Sunday.

Prosecutors also ordered the release of another police officer on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($310) in the case that touched off a rare burst of street protests last week, the officials said. The four policemen are to be held in custody initially for four days.

The 26-year-old man was arrested earlier this month following clashes stemming from a financial dispute in Cairo’s Moneib district, the Interior Ministry said.

The man was pronounced dead of heart failure at a hospital a day after his arrest, according to the ministry that oversees police. The ministry claimed the man had been wounded in the clashes.

Residents said the young man, identified by the nickname Islam el-Australy, clashed with police after they tried to dismantle his street stall.

The family of the man have accused the police of killing him, according to prosecutors who ordered forensic experts to determine the cause of death after they found abrasions on his body.

The judicial officials said closed-circuit video footage showed the man entered the police station alive before he was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital the next day. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Following the young man’s death, dozens of people protested outside the local police station until security forces dispersed them and sealed off the area. The protest was a rare outburst of public anger in Egypt, which has banned all unauthorized protests since 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

An Egyptian journalist who reported on the “repercussions” of the man's death was arrested last week and ordered detained for 15 days on charges of broadcasting fake news, his employer said.

Anger at widespread police brutality and the alleged beating to death of a young man by police helped spark the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Rights groups say mistreatment and torture are still widespread in Egyptian prisons, allegations denied by the government.

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