Egypt: Military court acquits the army officer that assaulted Quesna medical personnel

An Egyptian military court has acquitted the officer at the army’s Air Force, who had been accused of assaulting the medical staff at Quesna Central Hospital in Menoufia Governorate, according to Ahmed Hamad, the family’s lawyer, reported Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The case should have been referred to an ordinary civil court because the incident took place outside the jurisdiction of the military judiciary and the victims were civilians. However, the military judiciary handled the case and ultimately acquitted the officer.

Activist Mona Seif, sister of Alaa Abdel Fattah, commented on this in a tweet, reading: ‘(Despite) the scene of whip and the beating of nurses, which we all saw with our own eyes… (the assaulting army officer) acquitted by a military court. There is no clearer and more direct message than that,’ she said.

Also, Rassd News Network tweeted, saying: The military judiciary has acquitted the army captain pilot accused of assaulting the medical staff at the Quesna Central Hospital, according to the family’s lawyer, Ahmed Hamad.

In early December, nurses in a hospital in Menoufia Governorate, north of Cairo, were brutally assaulted by the family of an officer in the Egyptian army’s Air Force before the officer later joined them.

In the Central Hospital of Quesna, Menoufia, on the first of December 2022, an Egyptian army officer and his family severely assaulted the hospital’s nursing staff according to several local media reports.

The Egyptian local media then circulated a video showing a brutal assault by a man (the army officer) and a woman (reportedly his wife) on the hospital staff, who were mostly women, in addition to other medical workers.

The circulated footage showed that a man and women brutally assaulting a nurse who was trying to document the incident, as a woman snatched the mobile and a man slapped her and kicked her with his shoe, before another person whipped her with a whip lash.

One of the assaulted nurses then said the wife of an officer in the Egyptian Air Force, who was three-month pregnant, arrived at the hospital suffering from minor bleeding.

“At their arrival, the family of the army officer persistently demanded the case to be dealt with as quickly as possible, threatening the medical team that they would “send them behind the sun” in case of any negligence,” according to the nurse.

The nurse also pointed out that although the medical staff actually dealt with the case as required, and called the specialized doctor from the operations room immediately, the officer’s relatives began insulting and cursing them, before they later assaulted them when the nurses tried to document what was happening by a mobile camera.

In her testimony on the incident of assaulting medical personnel in Menoufia Governorate by an Egyptian army officer and his family, Nurse Nourhan Mansour said in a tweet, “The officer stepped on my face with his boots, and his mother said, ‘We’ll send you behind the sun’”.

The air force officer was accused of violently attacking nurses at the government hospital of Quesna, reportedly attacked six nurses and three female workers in the incident that was captured on camera and shared widely on social networking sites.

According to media reports, the officer and his family broke the hands and legs of some of the nurses; and one of the nurses suffered a miscarriage after she was beaten with a rope.

A nurse confirmed that when the army officer arrived, he joined his family in beating up the nurses, and personally stepped on her own face with his shoe.

According to Nourhan Mansour, a nurse, the police twice refused to take legal action against the attackers because the officer was close to the armed forces and the hospital administration, reported Mada Masr.

Egypt’s Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar had ordered an urgent investigation into the assault, after it went viral on social media under the Arabic hashtag, Quesna Central Hospital.

However, another leaked video captured the director of the hospital threatening any employees who witnessed the crime to keep quiet.

The number of doctors and health personnel emigrating in Egypt is increasing, and the deficit in the industry is now 65 per cent. There is a 202 per cent increase in the number of doctors emigrating to Britain since 2017.

Life sentences for protesters

Meanwhile, an Egyptian terrorism court on 15 January handed down life prison sentences to 38 people, including the self-exiled businessman and actor Mohamed Ali, whose social media posts helped to spark the anti-government protests in 2019.

Twenty-three of those who got life terms were tried in absentia, including Ali, according to an Egyptian criminal court handling terrorism-related cases.

The court also sentenced 44 others including children to terms ranging from five to 15 years in prison over the same charges. Twenty-one were acquitted, according to defense lawyer Ossama Badawi.

Those sentenced were convicted of a set of charges that included inciting violence against security forces and state institutions. The case stemmed from the 2019 protests in the port city of Suez that sits at the mouth of the Suez Canal.

Ali’s social media posts accusing al-Sisi and the military of corruption helped spark the protests, which authorities met with a massive security crackdown, including thousands of arrests.

Ali, who now lives in Spain, and 22 others who received life terms were sentenced in absentia. In addition to the 38 life sentences, another 44 people—23 of them children—were handed prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

The Egyptian Front for Human Rights documented a litany of violations in the defendants’ cases, including arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and exceeding the legal maximum in pretrial detention.