Egypt Puts on Trial Policeman Who Shot Driver Dead in the Street

People gather near bloodstains beside the Cairo Security Directorate in Cairo, Egypt, February 18, 2016. Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Cairo security directorate on Thursday night after a policeman shot dead a man in the street, in the latest outburst of anger over alleged police brutality in Egypt. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO, Feb 21 – Egypt’s prosecutor referred a policeman who shot dead a driver in a busy street to trial for murder, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday, in the latest case to highlight public concerns about police brutality.

Sergeant Mostafa Abdel Karim is accused of shooting a driver in the head after a dispute over his fare on Thursday night and was forced to flee a mob of local people who attempted to catch and kill him. Hundreds of protesters immediately gathered in front of the Cairo security directorate.

Abdel Karim confessed to using his interior ministry-issued gun to shoot the driver following an argument, killing him instantly, the prosecutor’s office said.

Other evidence included the testimony of several witnesses and an autopsy report showing that the bullet in the victim’s head came from a standard issue police weapon.

The incident came amid mounting public anger over alleged police brutality. Last week, thousands of doctors held a rare protest against police they say beat two doctors at a Cairo hospital for refusing to falsify medical records.

Earlier this month, the body of a missing Italian graduate student was found on the outskirts of Cairo showing signs of torture, including electrocution. Activists said the injuries bore the hallmarks of the Egyptian security services. The Interior Ministry has denied allegations of involvement in the death.

Anger over perceived police excesses helped fuel the 2011 revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule and began on a Police Day holiday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the interior minister on Friday, a day after the incident, to crack down on police abuses and to submit proposals to parliament to achieve this goal.

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