'Tortured' prisoner's death angers Egyptians

October 29, 2011 17:13


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CAIRO - The death of a prisoner, allegedly under police torture, has sparked public anger against Egypt's ruling military council, accused by rights groups of pursuing security practices familiar from the era of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Essam Atta, 23, died in Tora prison south of Cairo on Thursday, according to the Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture. A military court had jailed him for two years in February for offenses including "thuggery".

Protesters carried his body on Friday from the morgue to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak uprising, chanting against the military council and Interior Ministry.

Atta's family accused prison officers of torturing him by inserting a hose in his mouth and anus and pumping water and soap into his body causing mass bleeding that led to his death.  The Interior Ministry said he had died of "poisoning".

Human rights campaigners have compared Atta's death to that of Khaled Said, an online activist whose killing by police in Alexandria helped ignite the revolt that toppled Mubarak.

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