Synagogue attack suspect denies charges, claims torture

Having earlier confessed to throwing an explosive device on the sidewalk near a Jewish synagogue in downtown Cairo last Monday, Gamal Hussein Ahmed–chief suspect in the case–now denies the charges, saying he was subject to torture at the hands of police. He has reportedly been taken to the coroner’s office to be examined for traces of mistreatment.

Ahmed, who was detained for 15 days pending investigation, was first identified by a housekeeper working in the hotel at which he was staying, located opposite the synagogue.

Ahmed had previously admitted to the charge, confessing to having also planned a more sophisticated attack in Cairo’s touristic Hussein district, but had been deterred from doing so by the heavy security presence in the area.

His motivation for attacking the synagogue, according to police accounts of his initial confession, was his anger over frequent Israeli acts of violence against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The suspect was arrested while en route to the US embassy in Cairo, where he had reportedly hoped to qualify for political asylum.

Subsequent investigations revealed he had been involved in an attempted arson attack on a video rental club in Cairo in 1984, but had not been convicted of the crime. According to police investigators, Ahmed suffers from drug addiction and has been admitted to hospital in the past for psychological treatment.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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