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Egypt's president proposes law to crack down on police brutality

Egyptian President el-Sissi has proposed legal changes to toughen punishments for police abuses. The announcement has come amidst mounting anger over police brutality and the killing of an Italian student.

Any policeman who attacks citizens should be held accountable, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told the interior minister on Friday,

as dozens of protesters gathered outside Cairo's police headquarters.

The statement from el-Sissi's office said he told Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Gaffar that

abuses have been carried out by a "number of policemen,"

while he praised the ministry's "sacrifices."

"But these actions must be stopped and the perpetrators held to account," el-Sissi told Abdel Ghaffar, according to the statement.

"This may require some legal amendments, or new laws, that regulate police performance on the street, and that ensure all who violate the rights of citizens will be held to account."

El-Sissi is set to present the amendments to parliament within 15 days.

The president's announcement seeks to quell the rising anger over police brutality.

On Friday, Egyptian police confirmed that they arrested an officer who allegedly shot dead a 24-year old taxi driver on Thursday. Hundreds of people protested the killing both on the streets and on social media.

The protests come as Italian officials announced that an

autopsy of graduate student Giulio Regeni's body showed signs of torture,

including electrocution. Activists said Regeni's injuries had the hallmarks of Egyptian security services.

Anger over police abuses helped fuel the 2011 uprising which ended President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

rs/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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