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Egyptian journalist in hospital after demo crackdown

AFP - The Middle East Times
May 30, 2005

CAIRO - An Egyptian journalist said on May 27 that she suffered a fractured pelvis after being beaten up by activists of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) at opposition rallies against a referendum.

Iman Taha, 30, was with marchers from the pro-reform umbrella group Kifaya (Enough) who attempted to stage a rally at Cairo`s Press Syndicate against the May 25 vote to change the electoral system.

`Suddenly, we saw police cordons opening up to let around 150 thugs savagely attack us,` said Taha, speaking from her hospital bed.

`One threw me against the wall and kicked me with his feet twice just above the navel. I fell to the floor but he kept on beating me,` she said.

`I was shrieking with pain. A plainclothes security agent told me: `Your cries won`t help, you should not have come here in the first place. That`ll teach you a lesson for demonstrating,`` she added, before breaking down in tears.

She said that police had refused to call an ambulance and barred her from taking refuge inside the Press Syndicate`s building.

Taha`s lawyer, Wafaa Al Masri, said that the government hospital that she was first ferried to, after hours of delay, `refused to share her diagnosis and X-rays`. She later checked herself in to a private clinic.

Masri said that every police station she went to had refused to register Taha`s complaint and that she would have to go to the attorney general.

US watchdog Human Rights Watch has savaged Egyptian police in a report for inciting the sexual abuse and thrashing of demonstrators at two Cairo rallies on referendum day and urged President Hosni Mubarak to investigate the `state-sanctioned brutality`.

US President George W. Bush also condemned the heavy-handed tactics from the authorities, saying that `getting a beating is not our view of how a democracy ought to work`.

And France said that it `regretted the incidents that took place` during the referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing for Egypt`s first competitive presidential elections.
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