Residents clash with police to protest man’s death in custody

Cairo: Clashes have broken out between police and demonstrators over the death of a man in custody hours after he was arrested, in the historical Egyptian city of Luxor.

Talaat Shabeeb, arrested late Tuesday on charges of possessing drugs, died of a “sudden health crisis” early yesterday, Police Major General Essam el-Hamli said, though he denied any police involvement in Shabeeb’s death.

Shabeeb’s family, however, alleged that the 45-year-old was murdered by police within hours of his arrest, and refused to claim his body before an investigation.

Following the incident, scores of residents rioted in el-Awameya area of Luxor.

Police lobbed teargas shells and fired live bullets in the air to disperse the protesters who were blocking the roads, witnesses and security officials said.

A judicial source said primary investigation showed the man was beaten and tortured, which led to his death.

A clip showing torture marks on Shabeeb’s body also went viral on social media, with many people denouncing the alleged police brutality.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Major General Abu Bakr Abdel Karim yesterday said the prosecutor-general was probing the incident and the ministry is also opening an investigation into the matter.

Abdel Karim said over phone on a television talk show that Shabeeb had a dangerous criminal record.

“It investigations showed that police members were involved in Shabeed’s death, they will be tried according to the law,” he said.