Man beaten by police now blames protesters

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A MAN who was beaten and dragged across the ground naked by Egyptian riot police during a demonstration on Friday has been seen on state television blaming the incident on demonstrators.

A video of Hamada Saber, 48, being beaten with truncheons by helmeted police has infuriated the opposition, which accuses president Mohamed Morsi of ordering a harsh crackdown on protests two years after the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Morsi’s government has announced an investigation into the incident, which came at the end of eight days of violent protests that saw nearly 60 people killed, the deadliest unrest of his seven months in office.

State television yesterday aired a recording of Mr Saber, seen lying on bed in a police hospital, giving his account of the incident, in which he blamed protesters for stripping and robbing him.

However, the widely-seen footage of the incident clearly showed police beating him with truncheons and dragging him naked across a road.

“I fell over, I failed to stand up again, then they surrounded me in a circle and attacked me,” he said. The interviewer asked if he was referring to the demonstrators, and he answered: “Yes I am.”

Egypt’s prosecutors’ office has released a statement saying Mr Saber denied police had hit him.

But it was received angrily by the opposition, which suspects the authorities of intimidating him to exonerate the police.

Nasser Amin, a prominent lawyer and campaigner for judicial independence, said: “That a citizen be dragged in a public space is a crime against humanity. That he be forced to amend his testimony before the public prosecution is tyranny. It has dire consequences for justice.”