CAIRO, Egypt – Egyptian authorities have opened an investigation into a video clip uncovered by an anti-torture activist that allegedly shows a police officer slapping a woman and forcing her to strip, a security official said Saturday.
Egypt, where human rights groups say police abuse is pervasive, has seen a series of investigations of police prompted by cell-phone videos showing torture and abuse of suspects.
The circumstances of the latest clip are unknown. It shows a woman in blue jeans and a shirt in what appears to be a bedroom, while a man with a gun tucked in his belt — purported to be a police officer — slaps her repeatedly across the face and orders her to take off her clothes.
The sobbing woman takes off her top and brassiere, begging the man not to force her to walk outside. She tries to cover her face with hands, but the man orders her to take her hands down so he can slap her on the face. Other young men appeared also in front of the camera. None of those appearing in the video are identified and it is not clear where it was filmed.
The video was first uncovered by blogger activist Wael Abbas, whose Web site Misr Digital has posted numerous videos of police torture. Abbas said on his site that he received the video in an anonymous e-mail.
Mohsen el-Bahnasi, head of human rights center for Legal Assistance, then filed a lawsuit to the general prosecutor calling for investigation to determine who was in the clip and whether it showed a policeman.
Prosecutors began their investigation on Thursday, a security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.
Abbas said on his Web site that the e-mailer who sent him the clip claimed that the man who appears in it was a police officer, but Abbas said it was not confirmed whether that is accurate.
Abbas has posted previous video clips showing police brutality and torture of people in police stations, including a high profile case of a video that showed police officers sodomizing a minibus driver with a stick. The officers were sentenced to three years in prison in October.