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10 years in jail for policeman who killed Egyptian activist

Image of Egyptian activist Shaimaa Sabbagh who was shot dead by Egyptian policeman, Yaseen Hatem [We Resist‏/Twitter]
Image of Egyptian activist Shaimaa Sabbagh who was shot dead by Egyptian policeman, Yaseen Hatem [We Resist‏/Twitter]

An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced a policeman to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed activist who was marking the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

First Lieutenant Yaseen Hatem was last charged in March 2015 for his actions that “led to the death” of 32-year-old Shaimaa Sabbagh, a rare charge for a member of the security force.

Judge Ahmad Abu Al-Fotouh Suleiman read out the verdict yesterday after another court initially sentenced Hatem to 15 years in prison in June 2015 which was later overturned by the Court of Cassation with a retrial ordered for February 2016.

Read: EU slams Egypt’s new NGOs law

Hatem is likely to appeal against yesterday’s verdict to the Court of Cassation which can either uphold the verdict or order a retrial for a final time, according to the Daily Star Lebanon.

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Sabbagh was killed when Hatem fired shots to disperse the crowd that had organised a march in Cairo in January 2015 to commemorate the 2011 uprising that ended the rule of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.

According to Sabbagh’s family lawyer and member of the socialist party Sabbagh belonged to, Sayed Abu Al-Ela:

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.

Abu Al-Ela was pictured carrying Sabbagh’s bloodied body after she was shot by Hatem in close range, sparking outrage.

When President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power in 2013 protests were banned. Many saw the ban as a way for Al-Sisi to crackdown on dissidence and opposition to his governance after he took control of  the country through a military coup.

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