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Egyptian Mob Exacts Revenge on Son of Brotherhood Leader

Mon, May 13, 2013

Mob violence in Egypt.

Mob violence in Egypt.

An angry mob in Egypt lynched the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, a teenager accused of killing a man over Facebook comments that had disparaged the Islamist movement.

Sixteen-year-old Yussef  Rabie Abdessalam pulled out a gun and began shooting indiscriminately after a heated argument with a man who had openly criticized the Brotherhood on the internet. Yussef’s action – in which he killed one man and wounded another -- infuriated residents in the Nile Delta, where his father, Rabie Lasheen, is an official at the local branch of the Justice and Freedom Party (JFP). The party is a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The angry mob surrounded the teenager’s home seeking revenge. Yussef’s family responded by hurling stones at the group from inside the house, fatally injuring a man outside the residence.

After ransacking the house of Lasheen, the crowd set his apartment and three cars ablaze, before they dragged his teenage son into the street and attacked him, lynching him using bladed weapons. Thinking he was already dead, the assailants dumped his inert body in the street. Yussef was taken to hospital where he shortly died of his injuries.

The police were completely absent while the mob assaulted Lasheen's son and damaged his property. Media reported that only two policemen were dispatched to the crime scene at dawn after the end of the violence.

The violence is the latest in a recent spike of vigilante killings in the region, and part of an increase, in general, of criminal activity since the Muslim Brotherhood’s election win.

In another incident, villagers in Sharqiya province beat up a man and then lynched him, accusing him of car theft. The lynching occurred just days after residents of another town killed two men accused of kidnapping a girl.

At Belbies Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the village, officers admit that they cannot do anything to restore law and order and no proper preemptive or responsive measures are taken by the government.

Major Mohamed Dabbous told Ahram Online that "What do we do when we receive reports about such incidents? Absolutely nothing. It happens in an instant. There is no way we would make it to the crime scene on time, especially if the road is blocked, that happens quite frequently here [due to protests, riots or other types of disturbance]. Even those who clearly appear in videos are usually released in the end, because the prosecution can't prove that this person actually killed the victim. There are always crowds of people in the videos that typically only show a bit of the incident. The accused would say that he just hit or hurt the guy, but didn't kill him. The video cannot prove otherwise."

Basma Abdel-Aziz, a psychiatrist at Cairo's Abbasiya hospital said that blind revenge is what turns a normal person into a cold-blooded killer. Other contributing factors are impunity of outlaws, mob mentality and daily violence.

Aziz explains that the victim is at the mercy of the violent mob that will typically punish him with a slow death and even mutilate the body because this is an act of revenge not for a single abuse, but for all the wrongs that have befallen the group waging the attack.