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Socialist Alliance accuses police of "premeditated murder" of member El-Sabagh

Socialist Alliance's political stance and reaction to death of Shaimaa El-Sabagh will be decided on Monday after meeting with allies

Sherif Tarek , Sunday 25 Jan 2015
Shimaa El-Sabbage
The Socialist Popular Alliance Party held a press conference at its headquarters Sunday on the 4th anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, one day after party member Shaimaa El-Sabagh was shot dead as police dispersed a march (Photo: Sherif Tarek)
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Slain Egyptian activist Shaimaa El-Sabagh was shot dead by police in a 'premeditated' murder on Saturday, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, of which she was a member, said Sunday.

"Shaimaa ... [was killed] while on her way to put a wreath on the memorial of the martyrs [in Tahrir Square] to commemorate their memory," on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising, a press release reads.

"The criminals killed her in a premeditated murder...She was deliberately targeted."

The party reiterated details of the violence that erupted when it organised a march in Cairo's Downtown on Saturday and was blocked by the police before reaching Tahrir Square, the focal point of the January 25 Revolution.

"Secretary General [Talaat Fahmy] went to tell the head of the forces that members of the political office will go to Tahrir Square," the statement says. "But the security forces used barbaric violence by firing pellets and teargas at us."

A large number of reported witnesses earlier told the same story about how El-Sabagh was gunned down.

During a press conference held Sunday, a number of leading party members, including acting president Medhat El-Zahed, as well as a number of sympathisers from other parties, including Hala Shukrallah, head of the Constitution Party, all strongly condemned what they described as oppressive tactics of the government.

El-Zahed confirmed that six of protesters were arrested in the melee Saturday, saying they are still detained pending questioning before prosecutors.

A law passed by interim authorities in late 2013 bans all demonstrations not pre-approved by the police, resulting in the arrest of many protesters despite condemnations from freedom of expression advocates.

The Popular Alliance's march was not authorised by the police.

El-Zahed said a meeting between the party and the Democratic Current, a parliamentary umbrella group that includes other parties, would be held to discuss next steps including participation in the upcoming paliamentary elections in March.

In a statement issued Saturday, the interior ministry denied that a policeman had gunned El-Sabagh down, saying marchers used fire crackers. "And later," the statement reads, "a woman was injured and hospitalised, but she died after succumbing to her injuries."

The ministry went on to warn against such gatherings, warning that "terrorist groups" would infiltrate them with the intention of causing strife.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said he had faith that whoever made a mistake would be convicted by a fair investigation and a just judiciary.
 
El-Sabagh, who died at 33, was a labour rights activist. She leaves behind her husband and a five-year-old son.
 
The spokesman of Egypt's Forensic Medicine Authority, Hesham Abdel-Hameed, told media outlets on Saturday that El-Sabbagh died from birdshot injuries, and was shot at a distance of eight metres (around 42ft).

The birdshot caused significant damage to her lungs and heart and caused bleeding in the theoretic cavity, added Abdel-Hameed, explaining that this type of birdshot is used by police but is also available for civilians who possess weapons.

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