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Egypt investigates after online video shows police taunting corpse

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CAIRO — Egyptian authorities are probing allegations of police abuse after a video circulated online showing three policemen taunting a nearly naked corpse, a senior police official said on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Yousseri, police chief of the Nile Delta governorate of Qalubiya, said the video is authentic. He identified the slain man as a fugitive named Mohammed Sultan, who escaped after being detained on charges of murder and theft. He also confirmed the identities of the three policemen who appeared in the video, which was shot inside a hospital room.

The video, which surfaced earlier this week, shows policemen laughing and snapping mobile phone pictures of the body, which is naked except for bloody underwear. At one point they place a lit cigarette into the dead man's bloodied mouth.

Torture, long rampant in Egyptian prisons and police stations, was one of the main grievances behind the 2011 uprising that forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. The Egyptian police rarely investigate allegations of misconduct, and courts typically hand down light sentences to police convicted in torture cases.

Torture is banned under a new constitution passed by popular referendum following the military's overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last summer amid massive protests against his yearlong rule.

However, rights groups allege that police have acted with impunity while waging a sweeping crackdown on Morsi's supporters, jailing tens of thousands of people and killing hundreds in street clashes over the past year.

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