Egypt’s minister of culture resigns over police abuse: media

Relatives of activists Mohamed al-Guindi and Amr Saad, both of whom opposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, pray in front of their coffins during their funeral at Omar Makram mosque in Cairo February 4, 2013. (Reuters)

Egypt’s Culture Minister Mohammed Saber Arab resigned on Monday after police were filmed beating and dragging a naked man during clashes outside the president’s palace, official media reported.

The state’s Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that he stepped down in protest at the police abuse while official MENA news agency quoted a government spokesman announcing the resignation but without elaborating.

Meanwhile, on Monday police fired tear gas at protesters in the Nile Delta city of Tanta after the funeral of an Egyptian activist who slipped into a coma and died after several days in custody, witnesses said.

Mohamed al-Guindi, 28, was arrested in Cairo’s Tahrir square after joining protests demanding change on the second anniversary of the country’s uprising.

The opposition says his death on Monday proves police have not reformed.

The death came as police faced a backlash after riot policemen were filmed beating a dragging a naked man during clashes on Friday outside the presidential palace in Cairo.

In Tanta, witnesses told AFP that police fired tear gas on a march that approached the provincial headquarters, following Guindi’s burial in the city.

Guindi’s lawyers say that after his arrest he was taken to a police camp in Al-Gabal al-Ahmar in Cairo where he was subjected to torture, before being sent several days later to Cairo’s Al-Helal hospital.

According to the health ministry, Guindi arrived at the hospital unconscious and suffering from internal bleeding. The Popular Current, to which Guindi belonged, said the activist died “as a result of torture.”

Guindi’s death and the footage of police beating a protester have confronted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi with uncomfortable parallels with Hosni Mubarak’s regime, deposed in 2011 after an uprising partly aimed at police abuses.

The presidency said in a Facebook statement that it had asked the public prosecutor to probe Guindi’s death, stressing there is “no return to rights abuses of citizens and their freedoms... after the January 25 revolution.”

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Last Update: Tuesday, 05 February 2013 KSA 01:26 - GMT 22:26
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