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Update: Matareya doctors drop assault charges against police after ‘threats’

Two doctors allegedly assaulted by police officers in a Matareya hospital on Thursday have dropped all charges against their assailants following “threats” from the Interior Ministry, Mona Mina, Secretary General of the Doctors Syndicate told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Friday.

According to Mina, the police officers have made a counter complaint against the doctors, accusing them of assault. She said that the Interior Ministry and National Security Agency had applied pressure to the doctors, stating that they would be held at Matareya Police Station for four days pending investigation if they refused to drop their complaints.

The doctors claim that they were assaulted by two police officers at Cairo’s Matareya Hospital on Thursday, prompting the Doctors’ Syndicate to file a complaint with the prosecutor general. Hospital staff declared that they would go on strike until legal action had been taken against the assailants.

On Thursday afternoon, a patient in civilian clothes allegedly arrived at the hospital with an injury to his face and asked the resident doctor, Ahmed Mahmoud, to note down other injuries that weren’t there, according to a Doctors’ Syndicate statement. When Mahmoud refused, the patient said he was a police officer and threatened to fabricate criminal charges against the doctor if he didn’t comply with his demands.

The police officer allegedy enlisted his colleague to beat Mahmoud and another doctor at the hospital, then took both men to the Matareya Police Station. The doctors were released and returned to the hospital shortly thereafter, the syndicate said.

The incident was a “blatant violation of every law and a continuation of the ongoing state of chaos,” the syndicate statement argued.

Doctors are calling for the alleged perpetrators to be prosecuted on charges of thuggery, abuse of power, intimidation and assaulting doctors on duty.

“The syndicate affirms its support for the doctors and their right to strike until legal measures are taken against the police officers’ thuggery,” the syndicate declared.

Directly addressing the prosecutor general and Interior Ministry, the statement asked, “If security forces assault doctors, then who will protect them?” 

The Matareya Police Station has become notorious for police brutality, with more than a dozen detainees reportedly tortured to death in detention over the past two years. The cases were widely reported in Egyptian media.

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