Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 19:58 pm (KSA) 16:58 pm (GMT)

Egypt cops hold Sarkozy cameraman at gunpoint

The photographer's elbow was broken
The photographer's elbow was broken

An AFP photographer was held at gunpoint and had his elbow broken by a plain-clothes Egyptian policeman on Saturday while trying to take pictures of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner out jogging.

Photographer Thomas Coex and other journalists had spotted the pair out running along one of the main streets of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the eve of an official visit to Cairo and hurried to try to take a picture.

"We had gone out for a stroll, it was already dark. In the time it took to get my camera out and run towards them, I was already quite a way behind and I got perhaps 10 meters (yards) from the president," Coex said.

A plain-clothes Egyptian policeman who was running behind the French officials and their bodyguards then turned towards the AFP photographer while the rest of the party continued jogging.

"He tripped me and shoved me and I went flying. I fell on my arm, my camera went flying and got broken," said Coex.

The policeman then forced the photographer to the ground in an arm lock and pointed a gun at him, according to Coex and an AFP reporter who arrived on the scene.

Another plainclothes policeman helped the first to keep Coex on the ground for around five minutes before a uniformed officer arrived.

He was then taken to a police station where he was held for around 20 minutes before being allowed to go to hospital to receive treatment accompanied by a policeman and a French colleague.

During the incident, Coex called to a French bodyguard escorting Sarkozy, who turned briefly before running on. It was unclear whether either the president or the foreign minister were aware of the incident.

Sarkozy arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday evening with new girlfriend Carla Bruni for the second leg of a Christmas break that began in Luxor, on the Nile.

The whole holiday has been keenly watched by the French media eager for pictures of the president with his ex-supermodel turned singer girlfriend but has been marred by incidents between photographers and police.

Video being investigated

A clip posted by a blogger showing the incident

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, a video allegedly showing an Egyptian police officer totally stripping naked a girl that he was interrogating has been released.

The clip is the latest episode in a series of videos showing police brutality against civilians and political detainees in the largest Arab country.

The video has been widely circulated on the Internet and mobile phones across Egypt after it was posted by a blogger from the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid, a group which has filed a complaint with Egypt's Attorney General.

The prosecutor summoned the spokesman of the group, lawyer Mohsen Bahnasi to give his testimony in the presence of lawyer Mohamed Aboul-Einein, who was present throughout the seven-hour interrogation of the girl, London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.

Some legal experts expressed their concern that the investigations will focus on exposing the source of the clip rather than the identity of the offender.

The prosecutor also summoned blogger Wael Abbas, the owner of the blog that posted the video. The video was posted on Abbas’ blog Al-Waa'i Al-Masri (Arabic for 'Egyptian Awareness') on Dec. 20, the second day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha. Abbas refused to name his source and said he only posted the audio because the girl appears stark naked.

Another video clip was posted on the internet recently, showing 22-year old microbus driver Emad Al-Kebir being sodomized by a stick in a police station.

Captain Islam Nabih and Corporal Reda Fathi were sentenced to three years in prison for sexually assaulting Al-Kebir in a case that sent shock waves throughout Egypt and sounded alarm bells that torture at the hands of the police no longer represents individual cases as the Ministry of Interior always claims.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »