Egyptian villagers beat two accused criminals to death

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2013 4:59 PM
Egyptian villagers beat two accused criminals to death

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian villagers on Sunday beat to death two men accused of violent crime and hung their bodies from a lamppost, in one of the country's most gruesome examples of vigilante justice.

A mob chased the men through the village of Mahalt Ziyad in the Nile Delta, around 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Cairo, a local security official said. They strung up the corpses in a public place as a warning to others.

The villagers had accused the men of attacking women and children, kidnapping and theft, the official said.

Security has deteriorated since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising two years ago and Egyptians complain of growing crime and an ineffective police force.

Local people meted out similar punishments in two other Nile Delta towns in recent weeks, killing three. Last month one person was killed in another case of vigilantism in a governorate south of Cairo.

Small numbers of groups called "popular committees" emerged during the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak when the police disappeared from the streets. They carried out tasks such as street patrols and protecting property but usually without resorting to such mob violence.

(This story corrects attribution in second paragraph)

(Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Stephen Powell)