Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cairo police officer shoots 11 year-old girl during neighborhood altercation

Sunday, March 6, 2016
A police officer shot and injured an eleven-year-old girl during an argument with a man in the Bulaq Dakrour neighborhood, close to downtown Cairo, one of the girl’s relatives told Mada Masr.

Huna Saber Rashad was shot in the back after a young man fired rubber bullets at a police officer and the officer responded with live fire from his state-issued gun, Rashad’s relative Ahmed Omad asserted.

The officer was arrested and taken into custody at Bulaq Dakrour station, a source from Giza security services told the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

The hospital where Rashad was taken for treatment initially refused to release a report on the incident, saying it would take too long. Rashad’s family suggest hospital staff were “afraid of the consequences.” Rashad’s father had to go to the police station on Qasr al-Nil Street to obtain a report while the rest of her relatives were still in the hospital.

The hospital treated Rashad and her family with suspicion, according to relatives. “They told us to leave and come back after two weeks, even though the bullets were still inside her, and they could have operated to remove them immediately. Then they told us to donate five bags of blood for her to be treated. I don’t understand why the hospital is being so obstinate with us, but we won’t leave until they have treated her and given us our right to a formal medical report,” Omad said.

The hospital eventually agreed to keep Rashad for 24 hours, after member of parliament for Bulaq Dakrour, Mohamed Ismail, came to the hospital and intervened.

Several incidents of police violence have caused public outrage in recent months. A police officer shot 24-year-old Mohamed Sayed, a local from the Darb al-Ahmar neighborhood, in the head at close range after a dispute over payment for moving the officer’s car in late February.

The officer was arrested, charged with manslaughter and referred to criminal court, but the lawyers and family of the victim are calling for harsher charges to be brought against him.

Sayed’s death prompted a large protest, with thousands of residents surrounding the Darb al-Ahmar security directorate, chanting anti-government slogans.

The Doctor’s Syndicate staged a strike against police violations following an incident in Matareya Hospital in January, when two police officers assaulted doctors for refusing to falsify medical reports.

The Interior Ministry has repeatedly denied that such incidents are emblematic of systemic issues within the ministry, asserting that they represent individual violations by police officers.

In response to the Darb al-Ahmar case, Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar stated that such “irresponsible actions” should not affect the relationship between the people and the police, maintaining everyone should recognize the “wide range of heroic policemen who make grand sacrifices every day.”

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