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Beating death of Egyptian businessman Khalid Said spotlights police brutality

The beating death of Alexandria businessmen Khalid Said has lit up Egyptian social networking sites, with complaints that police brutality and torture is widespread within the close US ally. Egypt's emergency law gives security forces broad powers and demands little accountability.

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Egyptian protesters hold pictures showing slain Egyptian businessman Khaled Said as they shout anti-police slogans during a demonstration in Alexandria, Egypt Wednesday. Anger is spreading in Egypt over the latest example of police brutality and torture within the close US ally.

AP

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Anger is spreading in Egypt over the latest example of police brutality and torture in one of the strongest US allies in the Middle East.

Egyptian businessman Khalid Said died during what witnesses say was a brutal public beating by police officers on June 6 in Alexandria. His death has ignited protests in Cairo and Alexandria and demands for justice have spread like wildfire on blogs and social networking sites.

But the furor over Mr. Said’s death is not an indication that his case is unique. Rights groups say that while awareness has grown in recent years, police brutality and torture continues to be widespread in Egypt, where an emergency law that grants wide powers to security forces has been in place for nearly three decades. Except for a handful of cases, police have rarely been held accountable.

The US has said it would like Egypt to improve its human rights record, but so far, the Obama Administration has not indicated that failure to make significant progress would affect US military and economic aid.

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