National Council for Human Rights (NCHR)
To collect, analyze, and categorize the facts about the death of a 17-year-old boy in a motorcycle incident in June 2011 in Fayoum in which the boy’s family accused the police of killing him.
Conducting a field visit to the boy’s village and the accident site, and meeting with the boy’s family, his friend injured in the same incident, other friends, eyewitnesses, villagers, and police officials.
Islam Shakweir and Khaled Marouf.
The fact-finding committee recounted a number of contrasting accounts of the incident in its report about a boy’s death on June 8, 2011.
- The first account was from an eyewitness who was washing his minibus close to the site of the incident when he suddenly heard someone shouting, “Stop, kid!” He observed two boys riding a motorcycle and a group of people standing on the road. The two boys tried to escape the group of men, but there was a speed bump in their path and a man standing beside it with a large stick. The man hit one of the boys on his head and the boy lost control of the motorcycle and fell to the ground.
- The second witness account came from Mustafa Bilal Zanoun, who was riding on the bike with his friend Muhammad Mahmoud Ali Abdel Hamid, the victim. Zanoun describes that he and his friend saw a group of men blocking the road, presumed they were thugs, and became afraid of being robbed. Subsequently, they tried to escape by speeding and encountered a speed bump. A man standing directly after the speed bump with a tree branch hit them and Zanoun lost consciousness for 15 minutes. He woke up in the hospital to the news that his friend had died.
- The third account is from the police officials, who claim that they had set up a checkpoint on the road when they saw two boys on a speeding motorcycle. They signaled for them to stop, but the boys sped up to escape. The speed bump made the driver lose control and the motorcycle crashed. The police contend that they did not hit the boys with a stick or a tree branch.
The Ibshoy hospital report stated that Abdel Hamid died of his injuries (a broken skull and lower jaw, brain rupture, and wounds on his face, arms, and right leg). Zanoun’s injuries included a scar on his head and a suspected concussion.
The fact-finding committee recommends:
- bringing to justice whoever was involved in killing the young man and injuring his friend;
- promoting transparency in public opinion cases; and
- implementing the international laws and treaties that protect civilians, especially children.
It also emphasizes the importance of implementing a system to monitor Ministry of Interior employees.
The fact-finding committee’s report includes multiple narrations of the event, an examination of the site of the incident, and the hospital reports—all important attempts at comprehensiveness. The report’s strong methodology allows it access to a broad variety of perspectives, resulting in multiple narrations of the event. However, the report presents no final conclusions to identify whose narrative was strongest. The report also fails to clarify gaps in the competing narratives, such as why the boys did not recognize the policemen. Media reports about the incident contain information that supports the police’s guilt: a news report alleges that the bus driver told the father of the deceased that the police killed his son. Overall, the report is well structured and includes mentions of relevant international and legal statutes, but its lack of conclusive findings and its vaguely worded recommendations undermines its overall effectiveness.
The full text of the report is available in Arabic here.