12 February 2016

Egypt: Hundreds of Doctors Rally Outside Syndicate Amid Standoff With Interior Ministry

Cairo — Hundreds of Egyptian doctors rallied on Friday outside the doctors' syndicate where an emergency general assembly is being held after policemen purportedly assaulted doctors at a hospital in late January.

The meeting was called for two weeks ago in response to the reported assault that took place at the Matariya Teaching Hospital.

The incident dates back to Jan. 28 when a video published by Egyptian news portal Mobtada featured a doctor who works at the hospital detailing the assault against him by low-ranking policemen as he attempted to provide one of them with healthcare.

The video featured doctor Ahmed Abdallah recounting the details of how he was "dragged" and "handcuffed", after he told a low ranking policeman that his wound was "superficial" and would likely not require stitches.

As tensions escalated, more low-ranking policemen arrived at the hospital and Abdallah was thrown into a vehicle, by which he and a colleague were taken to the police station.

The prosecution released on Thursday the nine policemen who were accused of assaulting the two doctors.

Doctors at Matariya Teaching Hospital said last Friday they will submit their resignations to the Minister of Health if the alleged police assault on doctors is not investigated.

On Jan. 30, the syndicate set a deadline, which expires on Feb. 12, for officials to respond to its demands which include that the interior minister suspend the low-ranking policemen believed to be involved in the assault.

Thirteen rights groups, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), expressed in a Thursday statement "their full solidarity" with the doctors' syndicate and called for a "speedy investigation" and that all legal measures be taken to end "the repeated attacks" on medical and nursing staff in all healthcare facilities.


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