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)
Updated 19 June 2017
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Policeman in Egypt jailed 10 years for killing activist

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.


In an Iraqi village, a little girl hides skin disease from neighbors

Haura, a 4-year-old Iraqi child, in the village of Wahed Haziran, Diwaniya province, has a rare skin disease that covers much of her upper body in black marks and hair. AFP
Updated 53 min 37 sec ago
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In an Iraqi village, a little girl hides skin disease from neighbors

  • Iraq’s medical system has been destroyed by the 15 years of chaos
  • We have seen several doctors and they all told us that she cannot be treated in Iraq

WAHED HAZIRAN: Four-year-old Iraqi girl Haura should be enjoying her childhood — games in the street, tearing in and out of friends’ homes and small squabbles over toys.
Instead, a rare congenital skin condition covering much of her upper body in black marks and hair has made her the object of ridicule in her village, about 200 km south of Baghdad.
Everyday, Haura’s parents dress her in long sleeved shirts and high collars, but it is a losing battle — her neck gives her away, to laughter and jeers.
“In two years, she will have to go to school — we really dread that,” says Haura’s mother Alia Khafif at the family home, in Wahed Haziran, Diwaniya province.
“How will the other children behave with her? We can’t guarantee that she’ll be comfortable in a school and this is the biggest obstacle for her future,” sighs Khafif, dressed in a traditional long black veil.
The black marks and hair cover Haura’s shoulders and almost her entire back, along with much of her arms and neck.
But things could still get a lot worse.
Her condition, a giant form of naevus — birthmarks or moles — make her highly vulnerable to malignant melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.
To ward off a potentially “fatal” outcome, the best treatments would be a skin graft and laser sessions, dermatologist Aqil Al-Khaldi tells AFP. He also recommends psychological help.
But Haura’s despairing family can’t afford these things.
Iraq’s medical system has been destroyed by the 15 years of chaos that has followed the toppling in 2003 of dictator Saddam Hussein, and by more than a decade of sanctions before that.
“We have seen several doctors and they all told us that she cannot be treated in Iraq. They all say we have to go to a specialist center abroad,” says Haura’s mother.
“We cannot afford the journey or medical costs.”
Even treatment to alleviate itching is beyond the family’s reach — and the irritation gets worse with the Summer heat, as temperatures regularly exceed 50 Celsius.
“What we have is barely enough to live on and to send four brothers and sisters to school,” adds Khafif, whose husband is old, sick and unemployed.
Haura’s teenage brother Ahmad stands up for her.
“She’s a normal child, there’s nothing wrong with her,” he insists.
“But when she leaves the house, our neighbors laugh at her.”
Outside in the street, passing children avoid her like the plague.
“Even if the Prophet asks us, we won’t play with her,” one says.
So when her siblings head to school, Haura sits and plays on her own — or peers mournfully into a little green-framed mirror, held up close to show only her big brown eyes and pretty face.