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Egypt president orders introduction of laws to curb police abuse

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo, released on Feb. 19, 2016, shows President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meeting with Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar in Sharm el-Sheikh. (By AFP)

The Egyptian president has vowed to introduce new laws to deal with rights abuses by police forces, amid outrage over the killing of an unarmed taxi driver by a police officer.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced through a Friday statement that he had instructed Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Gaffar to submit proposals to the parliament on police accountability.

He said he had told Gaffar that “irresponsible acts by some members of the police force” should be tackled on an individual basis, said the statement.

The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the laws that would be proposed; it only said new legislative bills may be essential to ensuring that those security forces who “violate citizen rights unjustly” would “be punished.”

The development came after hundreds of people protested outside Cairo’s police headquarters following the shooting death of a 24-year-old taxi driver by a police officer during a brawl over the fare. 

Egyptian mourners carry the coffin of Mohamed Ali Sayed Ismail, a taxi driver shot dead by a policeman, in Cairo, Feb. 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

In the statement, Sisi hailed the country’s police force as a whole. “Egypt and its people appreciate the sacrifices and efforts of honorable policemen who work to achieve security and stability.”

He said police officers reject “individual violations against citizens.”

The Egyptian president orchestrated a massive crackdown on the country’s opposition figures and supporters, especially those affiliated with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organization, following the ouster of ex-President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Morsi had been democratically elected to office following a popular revolution that forced out long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Hundreds of protesters were killed and wounded and tens of thousands arrested in a crackdown that followed the military coup against Morsi. Hundreds of people have also been sentenced to death or long-term prison terms.

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