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Egyptian policeman gets 10 years’ jail for protester’s death

The victim’s lawyer said the ruling can be considered a victory

Gulf News

CAIRO: An Egyptian policeman was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Monday for the deadly shooting of a protester during a January 2015 rally, judicial and security officials said.

Shaima Al Sabbagh was hit with birdshot pellets on January 24, 2015 on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the anti-Hosni Mubarak uprising as police dispersed a march.

Sabbagh, a 34-year-old mother, was with other activists carrying a wreath to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to commemorate the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolt.

“The ruling can be considered good and a victory, in the circumstances we’re currently living in,” lawyer Mohammad Abdul Aziz, representing Sabbagh, told AFP after the verdict.

The policeman, Lieutenant Yassin Mohammad Hatem, received a 15-year sentence in June 2015 after he was convicted of “battery that led to death”.

He appealed the ruling, and the Court of Cassation annulled it in February 2016, ordering a new trial.

The officer can still appeal the latest ruling. With part of the incident captured on film, Sabbagh’s death triggered outrage in Egypt and abroad, prompting President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi to publicly demand that the perpetrator be brought to justice.

Hatem’s trial was a rare legal proceeding against a policemen charged over protester deaths since the army’s ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in 2013.

Tahrir Square was the epicentre of the 2001 uprising and the scene of violent confrontations between police and protesters.

Dozens of policemen were tried for the deaths of protesters after the revolt, partly fuelled by police abuses, that ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak. But most were acquitted.

— APP/AFP

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