Egypt's interior ministry strikes deal with dragged protestor

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Egyptian media reported that security staff bribed the man now known as the “dragged protestor” to deny he was abused by security forces in Friday’s demonstrations in front of the presidential palace.

According to several media outlets and social networking websites, interior ministry personnel bribed the 48-year-old Hamada Saber in order not to publicly accuse the police of beating him up and dragging him on the ground while he was taking part in a protest against the president and the Muslim Brotherhood in front of the presidential palace in eastern Cairo.

The interior ministry reportedly threatened Saber to officially charge him with the possession of Molotov cocktails if he incriminates the police and in return for his silence gave him an amount of money.

Media reports also said that the ministry promised to offer him an administrative job and a house for him and his family instead of the small one in which he lives in a working class district in Cairo, after convincing him that he is doing a national mission and protecting the country from chaos and instability.

A spokesman of the interior ministry had admitted that Saber was abused and said that the incident, which he described as “shameful,” is being investigated and that the police officers involved will be interrogated.

The ministry distributed Saber’s number among all Egyptian satellite channels so that he can publicly deny that he was beaten up by the officers, the Egyptian newspaper al-Mesreyon reported. According to the paper, police officers were standing next to Saber while he spoke to satellite channels on air to remind him of what he had to say.

A newspaper said that the interior ministry also organized an interview between Saber and a well-known TV anchor to defend the police and accuse the protestors of assaulting him.

The same newspaper added that the phone number from which Saber’s wife called one of the satellite channels to testify to the incident belonged to a senior police officer in the public relations and media division at the ministry.

Several satellite channels had aired confrontations between Saber and a number of his family members, among whom were his daughter and nephew, which demonstrated that Saber’s testimony was fabricated.
Saber even implicitly admitted that the officers had beat him up, yet told his nephew that he forgave them.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Hesham Qandil admitted to the failure of his government and other political factions in dealing with the demands of the youths and pointed out the difficulties his cabinet is facing under the current circumstances.

Qandil condemned all forms of violence and said that reform has to be implemented peacefully and through ballot boxes.

Several opposition factions had called for the resignation of the interior minister following the airing of the video that featured Saber’s incident.

Meanwhile, the presidency issued a statement condemning all forms of torture and stressed that Saber’s incident was an individual action.

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