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article imageFury after Egyptian TV airs video of police beating naked man

By Brett Wilkins     Feb 2, 2013 in World
Cairo - Video of Egyptian riot police beating a naked protester has sparked widespread outrage in a nation already seething with anger at US-backed President Mohamed Morsi and his increasingly brutal regime.
In the video, 50-year-old Hamada Saber is stripped naked, dragged through the street and beaten with truncheons and batons by a group of police in riot gear.
Footage of the brutal beating was broadcast live on television Friday as thousands of enraged Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo in after-mosque protests against Morsi's rule. Anticipating further outrage, the regime posted riot police around the presidential palace on Saturday.
According to Egypt's Ahram Online, one protester was killed and dozens more injured during Friday's demonstrations, which were centered around the presidential palace. The protesters are demanding the dismissal of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's government, amendment of the country's new constitution and the appointment of a new prosecutor-general.
On Saturday, protesters pelted a motorcade carrying Prime Minister Qandil with rocks and bottles. Qandil, who was trying to enter Tahrir Square, acknowledged that his government "has failed to accomodate the demands of the youth" who were instrumental in toppling the long-ruling regime of US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak during the 2010-2011 Arab Spring uprising.
President Morsi joined Qandil in condemning the police beating video on Saturday.
"The presidency was pained by the shocking footage of some policemen treating a protester in this manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights," a statement from Morsi's office said.
RT reports that Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim ordered an investigation to "hold accountable" the officers who participated in the brutal beating.
But the National Salvation Front (NSF), an alliance of parties formed in opposition to Morsi's Islamic Brotherhood regime, demanded Ibrahim's resignation.
"The horrible and degrading images showing central security officers beating and dragging a naked man near the presidential palace should lead to the interior minister's immediate resignation," NSF spokesman Khalid Dawoud insisted.
The NSF is also calling for Morsi to be tried for "killings and torture."
Ibrahim shot back with accusations of NSF responsibility for Friday's violence.
"Is throwing molotov cocktails at the presidential palace now part of peaceful protests?" he asked.
The ongoing protests have led the Egyptian government to declare a state of emergency, with General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the nation's military chief, warning of a potential "collapse of the state."
In addition to political demands, many Egyptian demonstrators are also protesting continued police brutality under the new regime. Last month, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EPIR), a human rights group, accused police of killing 11 prisoners and torturing 10 more.
"Police still use excessive force, and torture is still systematic just as it was under the Mubarak regime," EPIR said. The group also accused police of random shootings and meting out collective punishment.
Despite the continuing brutality, the United States is moving ahead with a deal signed during the Mubarak era to give Egypt 20 F-16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams main battle tanks. This weapons deal has come under intense fire from some conservative lawmakers and pundits, who point to Morsi's past anti-Israel and anti-US statements as reasons to halt the arms transfer.
"It is appalling that the Obama administration would send F-16s and 200 military tanks to Egypt," Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Fox News.
Lockheed-Martin, which manufactures the F-16s, received $213 million from US taxpayers in the deal.
But Gohmert, and many of his conservative colleagues who are slamming President Obama for giving Egypt military and economic aid, were silent for decades as successive US administrations backed the brutal and authoritarian Mubarak regime.
More about egypt unrest, Egypt, hamada saber, Mohamed Morsi
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