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Egypt minister apologizes over police brutality

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)
Egyptian Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar

Egypt's Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar has admitted to human rights abuses committed by police in a rare apologetic statement by Egyptian authorities.

"We apologize to every citizen who has been insulted," the minister said on Monday at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sharif Ismail which was broadcast live on state television.

"We apologize for the acts of some policemen, we kiss the head of every citizen subjected to abuse or insult or any unkind act by policemen,” he reiterated.

The Egyptian authorities’ confession comes following public outrage on social media after a policeman killed a driver with his service weapon in the capital Cairo last week, as well as last month's torture and murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, which media in Italy suspect to have been the work of Egyptian security services.

Regeni's death has prompted furious demands from Rome for the speedy arrest of his killers.

In his statement, Abdel Ghaffar also said that authorities were exerting "huge efforts to reveal (the circumstances of) the mysterious" death of Regeni, a Cambridge University PhD student from Italy who disappeared on January 25 in Cairo. His body was found with signs of torture on February 3 in a ditch in a suburb of the Egyptian capital.

A general view shows the exterior of the Zeinhom morgue in Cairo, where the body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Italian graduate student, was being held on February 4, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Standing alongside Abdel Ghaffar, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail added, "There will be no laxity and we will not cover up any" violation by the police.

"This is a commitment from the police, a firm commitment. If there is any violation from some individuals, they will be held accountable," he said.

Over the past year, several policemen have been detained for brutality against prisoners and some have been sentenced to jail terms.

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