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Two policemen charged in beating death of Egyptian man

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Source: Police officers charged with use of force and physically torturing Khaled Said
  • Witnesses said Said died after he was dragged out of an internet cafe
  • His death has become a lightning rod for human rights activists
  • Protesters sought to cast a spotlight on police brutality
RELATED TOPICS
  • Egypt
  • Police
  • Murder and Homicide

Cairo, Egypt -- Two plainclothes police officers have been charged and jailed in connection with the beating death of a 28-year-old man in Alexandria, a source in the Egyptian attorney general's office told CNN Thursday.

The two officers were arrested Wednesday and are being held for four days of questioning in an Alexandria prison, the source said. They have been charged with use of force against Khaled Said, as well as threatening and physically torturing him.

Witnesses said two plain-clothes police officers beat Said and dragged him out of an Alexandria internet cafe, where he died. Egyptian authorities previously said that Said died from asphyxiation after he swallowed a packet of drugs.

The circumstances surrounding Said's death are unclear. Police say he was wanted for theft and weapons possession and that he resisted arrest. Supporters say he was targeted for trying to expose official corruption.

His June 6 death has since become a lightning rod for human rights activists. Last week, thousands of people took to the streets of Alexandria to shine a light on police brutality. Some carried posters that said: "Killed by barbarians."

Mohammed ElBaradei, the former chief of the U.N. nuclear agency and now an Egyptian reformist figure, visited Said's family Friday to offer his condolences. He told CNN that such a beating is a practice out of the Middle Ages.

"I think the message should be clear," said ElBaradei, making his most high-profile appearance since leaving the International Atomic Energy Agency. "This should be the last time we witness torture in Egypt."

A photograph of Said's pummeled face is on a Facebook page devoted to him.