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Probe ordered into man’s death in Cairo police custody

Cairo: Egypt’s Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik has ordered an investigation into the death of a man while he was held in police custody in Cairo, an incident that prompted a protest.

In recent months, several policemen have been convicted in different torture cases and handed down varying jail terms.

Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency reported that the interior minister, who took charge of the office this month, ordered the case related to custodial death in Hadayeq Al Quba area in East Cairo, be handed over to prosecutors for an inquiry.

The victim, believed to be in his 20s, was arrested and taken to the police station earlier this week on suspicion of thievery.

Police said he died of a severe drop in blood circulation, while his family claimed he had been tortured to death. Some members of the family and friends of the victim protested outside the police station, according to independent newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

A forensic doctor from the Health Ministry examined the body to determine the cause of the death, the paper added without details.

Rights groups have repeatedly accused government of ignoring purported violations by police while authorities termed them as isolated acts and vowed to bring any wrongdoer to justice.

Last month, a Cairo criminal court started trying two policemen on charges of killing a young man after arresting him. That incident triggered a street protest and rioting by victim’s relatives.

Police abuses were seen as a major catalyst for the 2011 revolt that forced long-time president Hosni Mubarak out of power.

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