Second anniversary of death of victim of police brutality which lead to protests and toppling of Mubarak

June 6, 2012 marks the second anniversary of the death of 28-year-old Alexandrian Khaled Said, tortured to death by Egyptian police. His death lead to protests culminating in the toppling of Mubarak's regime. In October 2011, two Egyptian police officers were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison for beating Said to death.

On June 6, 2010, Said had been sitting on the second floor of a cybercafe. Two detectives from the Sidi Gaber police station entered the premises and arrested him.

Multiple witnesses testified that Said was beaten by the police, who reportedly hit him and smashed him against objects as he was led outside to their police car. The owner of the internet cafe in which Said was arrested stated that he witnessed Said being beaten to death in the doorway of the building across the street after the detectives took him out of the cafe at the owner's request. The police claimed Said suffocated in an attempt to swallow a packet of hashish.

When Said's family identified his body in the morgue, his brother took pictures of the corpse using his mobile phone. A photo of Said's corpse was released onto the internet by his family in June 2010, causing a large outcry. Human Rights Watch released a press report saying, "Said's battered and deformed face published on the internet show a fractured skull, dislocated jaw, broken nose, and numerous other signs of trauma" and also that the image clearly showed "strong evidence that plainclothes security officers beat him in a vicious and public manner".

Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim, located in Dubai at the time of the incident, created a Facebook memorial page for Said, called "We are all Khaled Said". The page attracted hundreds of thousands of followers.

Ghonim was among the first to publish a call to protest on January 25, to the followers of his blog, and protesters carried banners and posters displaying the photograph of Said's corpse. Said's death became one of the catalysts of the 2011 Egyptian protests, as  people formed a community around opposition to police brutality and other government abuses.

On February 11, 2011, these protests resulted in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.

 

 

 

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