An Egyptian police officer, who shot to death a Bedouin man in the coastal province of Marsa Matrouh, and five locals who took part in riots after the killing, have been referred to a criminal court by the country’s prosecutor general.
The man’s murder, which follows a recent incident in which a mother of three was killed after being deliberately run over by a military officer in a dispute between neighbours, has sparked national controversy over violent police misconduct.
The Egyptian Public Prosecution Office said in a statement on Sunday that it received a notice from a police station in Marsa Matrouh on July 11 reporting that a security patrol had shot a local man to death.
He was later identified as Farahat El Mahfouzy, 35, who belongs to the large Awlad Ali Bedouin tribe based in the western desert, near Marsa Matrouh.
The patrol was reportedly being conducted to limit illegal immigration and prevent drug trafficking, the statement said.
Following the man’s murder, residents of Marsa Matrouh’s Sidi Barani village gathered around the local police station in anger.
Rioters reportedly threw rocks at police and demanded that the officer who shot El Mahfouzy be handed over.
In addition to the murder of a police officer who was run over by one of the civilians referred to court on Sunday, the riot damaged public property, according to the prosecution’s statement.
The man confessed to running over the officer during questioning, the prosecution said.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to prosecutors reportedly told them that the El Mahfouzy refused to stop when the security patrol asked him to and drove at a very high speed, which prompted one of the officers to shoot at the car, killing El Mahfouzy.
Security footage from the scene and damage to the man’s vehicle corroborated what was reported by eyewitnesses, the prosecution said.
Despite the fact that the murder took place on Tuesday, the incident began trending on Egyptian social media channels on Saturday night following unconfirmed reports that the police officer had been released from custody.
The news, which was denied by the Marsa Matrouh prosecution, sparked a heated debate on the mistreatment of the public by military and security officers in Egypt.
Many referred to the recent murder of a pharmacist and mother of three by a military officer who deliberately ran her family of five over with his car inside an upscale gated community east of Cairo.
The officer will appear before a military criminal court, according to an armed forces statement earlier this month.