53-year-old Magdy Makin, a fish cart vendor, was arrested on Sunday at midnight after an altercation with policemen, hours later his lifeless body was brought to a nearby hospital with torture marks.
Videos of the Coptic Christian vendor’s bloodied body later surfaced on social media, showing a bleeding backside and bruises on his face.
Makin’s son, 30-year-old Malak, said that the last time he saw his father was late on Sunday when he was heading out to buy food for his horse. On the way, his father got into a quarrel with another driver and a policeman intervened by insulting both parties, said Malak.
“My father responded to the policeman’s insults by saying ‘and you too’ and that was it! People told me that then it was as if the police were playing football with my father’s body. They beat him in a barbaric way and dragged his body across the asphalt,” he said.
When Malak inspected the body, he said he saw “bruises, and one of his testes smashed. It was a horrible scene. I can’t describe,” he said.
Malak said his father supports a family of 12 and his only source of income is selling fish from his cart.
Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt has witnessed a significant rise in cases of police torture, deaths in detention, and forced disappearances.
Activists accuse Sisi’s government of allowing police too much free rein, which authorities have justified as needed to clamp down on political opponents, mostly the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Arabic-language hashtag #TheCartDriver has gained traction on Twitter shortly videos of Makin’s dead body emerged.
This week, a court sentenced a low-ranking police officer to life in prison for killing a tea vendor and injuring two others in Cairo earlier this year.
Zeinhom Abdel Razek had gone on a shooting rampage in April in the upscale suburban neighbourhood of Rehab after refusing to pay for a cup of tea, according to witnesses and the interior ministry.