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Egypt's Sisi applauds security forces after police shooting spree

Rights activists have long said police brutality is commonplace in Egypt [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 April, 2016

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has defended Egypt's notorious police force, days after officers were blamed for the killing of a street vendor over the price of a cup of tea.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has praised his country's notoriously brutal police force just days after a police officer went on a rampage this week, shooting dead a street vendor over the price of a cup of tea.

Sisi said the police force rejected "isolated incidents" of violence and instead insisted that such acts have been instigated by "evil people" want to destabilise the troubled country.

Public anger over rampant police brutality has been bubbling over the past months, with several incidents spilling over into skirmishes between police and protesters. 

It comes five years after the police's transgressions became a major focus of the 2011 uprising which overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak.

"Vigilance is vital against attempts to undermine the state's institutions and destroy the relationship between Egyptians and the state aimed at stirring up dissidence and destabilising the country," Sisi said during a meeting with police officials on Wednesday.

"Egypt and its people highly value the sacrifices and efforts of the honourable police, who sleeplessly ensure the security and stability of Egypt and reject any isolated incidents against citizens," Sisi said.

     
     

He added that anyone who breaks the law must be held accountable, police officers included.

Human rights activists insist that police brutality is commonplace and that there is a culture of impunity. The police say abuses are isolated and incidents are investigated.

Police have been accused of the torture murder of Italian student, Giulio Regeni, whose body was found brutally murdered more than a week after his disappearance from Cairo earlier this year.

The Italian press has suggested Egyptian security services were behind his abduction and murder, which Cairo denies.

In February, a policeman shot dead a driver in the street in an argument over a fare, prompting hundreds to protest outside the Cairo security directorate.

A court sentenced the police officer to life in prison this month, one of the harshest sentences issued to police officers convicted of similar violent crimes.

There were also riots in Ismailia and the southern city Luxor over the authorities' handling of at least three deaths in police custody in a single week in November.

In yet another case, police were caught on camera attacking a doctor inside a hospital, simply because the medic refused treat one officer with superficial injuries over more serious cases.

 

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