CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s public prosecutor has ordered the detention of a ticket collector after one of two vendors he allegedly told to get off a moving train because they had no tickets died jumping from a carriage.
The incident early on Monday near the Nile Delta city of Tanta sparked outrage among social media users, many of whom saw it as an example of how the authorities treat poor people as well as the use of harsh, military-style discipline.
The ticket collector, Magdi Ibrahim, “opened the door and asked them to pay, or submit their IDs for a (police) report, or get off the train,” the public prosecutor said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The two men jumped, and one, Mohamed Eid, was decapitated by the train, while the other, Ahmed Samir, “suffered abrasions and bruises in different parts of his body”, the statement said.
Ibrahim has been ordered to remain in custody for four days pending investigations on charges of “committing actions that endangered the safety of two train passengers and led to the death of one of them”, it added.
He denied the accusations, and said he had tried to prevent the men jumping, the statement said.
Transport Minister Kamel al-Wazir said the men had jumped as the train was driving through a disused station and that Eid had fallen between the train and a platform.
He told MBC Masr that Eid’s family would be given 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($6,200) in compensation as well as a job for a relative at the Railway Authority, and 20,000 pounds for Samir.
The Railway Authority said the two men were vendors who declined to pay for tickets and jumped from the train when it slowed down. It made no mention of Ibrahim ordering them off the train.
On social media, users shared a post reading: “How much is the ticket? = Your life!”, and the Arabic hashtag meaning “the ticket martyr” was trending on Facebook and Twitter.
Some blamed Wazir, a former army general who took the post after a deadly train crash that left more than 20 dead at Cairo’s main station in February, or linked the incident to an austerity drive under President Adel Fattah al-Sisi.
The Railway Authority has said it is working on “an urgent and immediate rehabilitation and training program” for all railway staff who have direct contact with the public.
Reporting by Haitham Ahmed and Mahmoud Mourad Editing by Aidan Lewis/Mark Heinrich