Egyptian Police Beat Man to Death—for Using Internet
Watch a segment of our web chat with Nora Younis, activist on the ground
Demand Accountability for Khaled Saeed
Egyptian authorities are known to intimidate, harass, and even wrongfully imprison activists. They are also known to restrict freedom of expression on the Internet. But what happened to Khaled Saeed is an outrage that makes these abuses pale in comparison.
Khaled Saeed was dragged out of an Internet café and beaten to death after he refused to show his ID card in an unwarranted random search. This was in plain view of several witnesses.
Many reports suggest Saeed was targeted for exposing police corruption. He had posted a video showing police officers sharing the profits of a drug bust.
Despite witness accounts and videos of the incident, the Egyptian Interior Ministry claims he was a drug addict and died choking on a joint.
Help us demand accountability! Sign our petition to the Egyptian ambassador to the United States.
On June 7, 2010 Khaled Mohamed Saeed, 28, was dragged out of an Internet café in Alexandria by police and brutally beaten to death in front of eyewitnesses. Reports suggest that Khaled may have been targeted for posting a video online exposing police corruption.
Khaled’s brutal death can be distinguished from other instances of intimidation of bloggers and activists by the Egyptian government because it occurred in public. The attack on Khaled was carried out in plain view and observers captured and transmitted images of police brutality before evidence could be hidden. In other cases, detainees are brutalized by police in secret.
Supporters of Internet freedom have described random ID checks and raids at Internet cafes by Egyptian officials to gather information on Internet users. In order to monitor web activity, officials also may require patrons to provide identification information prior to accessing the Internet. Authorities assert that this censorship and surveillance is authorized by Egypt’s Emergency Law, a law widely condemned by human rights advocates that has provided a context in which the security forces can commit abuses with impunity.
The voices of human rights defenders are among the first to be silenced by repressive Internet policies. In this election year, we urge the Egyptian government to defend its citizens’ right to access information on the Internet free of harassment, surveillance and intimidation.