Five years on, how is Egypt remembering Khaled Saeed?

An Egyptian woman holds a picture of Khaled Saeed during a silent protest marking the second anniversary of his death at the hands of Egyptian police on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

Five years ago in Egypt, the death of Khaled Saeed - a man who posthumously became an icon of a revolution that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak - in police custody did not go unnoticed.

On June 6, 2010, Saeed was reportedly dragged out of an internet cafe and set upon by two policemen in the northern city of Alexandria.

Viral images of the 28-year-old entrepreneur - who was known for his love of fishing and his hobby of composing music for his friends - showed the young man with a distorted face, a broken nose, and a dislocated jaw with gaps between his teeth.

The pictures would resonate in the minds of many youth, who just months later funneled their outrage into furious protests against police cruelty and the autocratic regime it flourished under.

Today, on the fifth anniversary of Saeed’s passing, the officers convicted of torturing him were sentenced to 10 years in jail following a retrial in 2014.

But many still think the case remains unresolved.

Saeed’s lawyer was quoted by local Egyptian press on Saturday saying his family did not receive a death certificate officially stating that Saeed’s death was due to torture.

“We will file a lawsuit to compel the interior ministry to issue a death certificate for Khaled Saeed that mentions that his death was a result of torture, following the court ruling,” Lawyer Mahmoud Abdul Rahman reportedly said on his Facebook page.

Policemen Awad Ismail, center, and Amin Mahmoud Salah, right, defendants in the beating death of Khaled Said, stand trial in a courtroom in Alexandria, Egypt, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP)

Policemen Awad Ismail, center, and Amin Mahmoud Salah, right, defendants in the beating death of Khaled Said, stand trial in a courtroom in Alexandria, Egypt, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP)

Many Egyptians who took to the streets in January 2011 demanding an end to the police state believe that the apparatus that led to Saeed’s murder still exists, years after the downfall of Mubarak’s regime.

“The relationship between youth and police did not change much since Khaled’s death,” said Mahmoud Afifi, an opposition activist. “On contrary, the enmity has increased.”

“What is happening now isn’t too far from what happened before the January 25 uprising,” he told Al Arabiya News.

“The relation is still tense. Police are trying now to restore their discourse under the Mubarak regime. We don’t see real attempts to restructure the interior ministry.”

Flashback

The reason why Khaled’s story touched so many Egyptians is because “he was a normal young man, he had no political ties,” said Tarek Khouli, an Egyptian lawyer and political activist who participated in the 2011 protests.

“This mobilized youth who are not interested in politics get involved,” Khouli told Al Arabiya News.

“They saw themselves in Khaled, and thought ‘what if’ they [found themselves] in his place.”

Yet Saeed’s anniversary this year was far more subdued than in previous years.

Khouli noted that a positive gesture to mark his anniversary could have been to send a delegation to Saeed’s mother but “unfortunately this did not happen.”

Laila Marzouq, the mother of Khaled Said, visits his grave in Alexandria, Egypt Monday, June 6, 2011. AP

Laila Marzouq, the mother of Khaled Said, visits his grave in Alexandria, Egypt Monday, June 6, 2011. AP

Justice for Saeed

Afifi believes that justice has not been served for Saeed, even though the officers are in jail.

“Khaled’s justice will be served when all Egyptians are living with dignity. When citizens do not get tortured under arrest. The case of Khaled Saeed will not end until the police abandons all its tools of brutality,” he said.

Khouli agreed, saying that what happened to Saeed remains a potential everyday scenario - unless Egyptian authorities decide otherwise.

“We need a political will to apply real reforms to the security sector in Egypt on all levels.”
 

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
Top