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The poor state of Egypt's medico-legal authority

Mostafa Hussein, Blogging on the wrong side - Tue, 06/03/2012 - 11:58pm

conference room at the medico-legal authority in Cairo

I took part in a training workshop for the medico-legal authority (forensic authority) in December in Cairo and last month in Assiut.

My part in the training was on the psychological consequences of torture. This was part of a training on the Istanbul Protocol, an internationally recognised guideline for medical and legal documentation of cases of torture. The IRCT managed to convince the director of the authority (chief forensic examiner) Dr. Ehsan Gorgy to provide such training, in exchange the authority will get them several digital cameras to help improve their documentation.

The authority was established in 1931 and is part of the Justice Ministry. It works within the legal framework of laws passed in 1952. A year before the structure of DNA was discovered and before many of the current advances in radiology and other fields of medicine. Currently the authority has an office in every governerate and a workforce of about 70+ doctors.

The authority was under intense scrutiny by the public following the Khaled Said case. It was accused of being complicit with the regime. This case is still a sore issue for forensic doctors and the public still carry lots of mistrust.

While exchanging contacts with one of the doctors at the end of a training day. One told me he has a Facebook account and is quite active on it but no longer writes his occupation as a forensic doctor fearing insults and shaming from his Facebook friends.

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