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Policeman in Egypt jailed 10 years for killing activist

Egyptians protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo on Nov. 27, 2011 to demand that the country’s military rulers step down. In January 2015, a protest march marking the 2011 uprising resulted in the death of Shaimaa Sabbagh when a police officer indiscriminately fired at them. (AP file photo)
CAIRO: An Egyptian criminal court on Monday sentenced a policeman to 10 years in prison for killing an activist during a march marking the fourth anniversary of a 2011 uprising.
First Lt. Yaseen Hatem was charged in March 2015 with action that “led to the death” of 32-year-old Shaimaa Sabbagh, a lighter charge than murder, but still a rare action against a member of the security forces.
Judge Ahmed Aboul Fotouh Sulieman of the South Cairo Criminal Court read out the verdict on Monday.
Another court had initially sentenced Hatem to 15 years in June 2015, but the ruling was overturned by the Court of Cassation which ordered a retrial of the case in February, 2016.
Hatem may appeal against Monday’s verdict to the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top court, which could either uphold it or order a retrial for the second and final time.
Sabbagh was killed when Hatem fired birdshot to disperse a march organized in the capital’s center in January 2015 to commemorate the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time President Hosni Mubarak.
“From a personal standpoint, we will not be stratified with any verdict to avenge the martyr, but from a legal standpoint, we are, for the first time, witnessing the punishment of a member of the police force for harming or killing a protester since 2011,” said her family’s lawyer Sayed Abu Al-Ela.
Images of Abu Al-Ela carrying Sabbagh’s bloodied body after she had been fired on from close range sparked outrage among Egyptians who had hoped the 2011 revolt would bring an end to police violence.
Abu Al-Ela was a friend of Sabbagh and a fellow member of the socialist party she belonged to.

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