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Beaten Egyptian Man Blames Protesters For What Happened To Him

posted 3 Feb 2013, 05:57 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 3 Feb 2013, 05:58 ]

An Egyptian man who was filmed being beaten by the police during Friday's protests tells state TV he blames the protesters for what happened to him.

CAIROEGYPT (FEBRUARY 2, 2013)  (EGYPT TV) - A 48-year-old man caught on television cameras naked, covered in soot and thrashed by half a dozen policemen who had pulled him to an armoured vehicle near the presidential palace following Friday's (February 1) violent anti-Mursi demonstrations, blamed on Saturday (February 2) the protesters for the attack.

Video of Hamada Saber seen dragged across the ground and beaten with truncheons by helmeted riot police on the eighth day of protests that have killed nearly 60 people, fired Egyptians to a new level of outrage.

However the anger was compounded with disbelief following Saber's interview from his police hospital bed aired on Saturday on state television, and following the prosecutor's office release of a statement saying he had exonerated the police and denied they had assaulted him.

"I saw many people running away towards a wide street. I kept watching them for a while. I was stunned when I saw that everybody was running in the direction of the narrow street where I was standing. It was a small alley indeed. After two or three minutes a bullet hit my leg, it was difficult for me to figure out if it was a live ammunition or a blank bullet," said Saber, adding that the shot had come from the side where the demonstrators were standing.

"I fell over. I failed to stand up again. Then they surrounded me in a circle and attacked me," said Saber.

When asked by the interviewer if he meant that the demonstrators had attacked him he replied: "Yes I do, they took my clothes off, maybe they were looking for money in my pockets, then someone among them shouted: "He is not a soldier, he is not a soldier, he is an old man and you are going to kill him."

Saber said that at that point soldiers came towards him and reassured him that they wouldn't beat him.

"I swear to God this what happened," added Saber.

President Mohamed Mursi's office promised an investigation into the incident, which followed the deadliest wave of bloodshed of his seven-month rule. His opponents say it proves he has chosen to order a brutal crackdown like that carried out by Hosni Mubarakagainst the uprising that toppled him in 2011.

The incident was an unmistakable reminder of the beating of a woman by riot police onTahrir Square in December 2011. Images of her being dragged and stomped on - her black abaya cloak torn open to reveal her naked torso and blue bra - became a rallying symbol for the revolution and undermined the interim military rulers who held power between Mubarak's fall and Mursi's rise.