Last Update 17:18
Thursday, 14 November 2019

Egypt prosecution charges officer in death of Shaimaa El-Sabagh

The prosecution also referred members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, who organised the march, to criminal court for violating the protest law

Reem Gehad , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015
Shaimaa El-Sabbagh
In this Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 photo, 32-year-old mother Shaimaa el-Sabbagh holds a poster during a protest in downtown Cairo (Photo: AP)
Views: 5520
Views: 5520

Egypt's prosecutor-general has referred a police officer to criminal court over the killing of leftist activist Shaimaa El-Sabagh at a peaceful march in January, according a statement released by his office on Tuesday.

It also referred members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, who organised the march, to criminal court for violating the 2013 protest law which outlaws unauthorised demonstrations.

The prosecution said investigations revealed El-Sabagh died from wounds sustained from "light birdshot" that a Central Security Forces officer shot at her and other protesters in downtown Cairo on 24 January 2015.

"This caused the injury that led to her death and injured other protesters," it said.

The prosecution charged the officer with the crime of  "beating that led to death."

Wael Tawfik, a member of the party's central committee, told Ahram Online that referring the officer to criminal court was a "good step" towards justice, especially after prosecution had initially detained leading party member Zohdi El-Shamy on suspicion of killing El-Sabagh.

However, he criticised the decision to put party members on trial for allegedly staging an unauthorised protest, as he said that the group were carrying flowers to the Martyrs' Memorial in Tahrir Square to commemorate those who fell during the January 2011 uprisings, but did not plan a demonstration.

Aly Soliman, a lawyer and member of the Socialist Popular Alliance, described the prosecutor-general's decision as "vague".

He said that the prosecution's charges against the officer, "beating that led to death", is a type of murder under Egyptian law.

The lawyer explained that there are different types of murder under Egyptian law, including premeditated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and "darb afda ela mout", which literally translates to "beating that led to death".

Article 236 of Egypt's penal code stipulates that, "Anyone who injures or beats a person, or supplies them with substances that harm them, without an intent to kill them, and [these actions] lead to death, is punished by ... three to seven years in prison. And if this action was premeditated the punishment would be harsher."

Soliman suggested that the "light birdshot", cited by the prosecution as a cause for Shaimaa's death, could be interpreted as a tool that the officer used to inflict injury on her, and which unintentionally caused her death.

El-Sabagh's death caused a local and international outcry, with many criticising the security forces for using excessive force in dispersing the peaceful march.

Her party, the Socialist Popular Alliance, accused the police of "premeditated murder", while police officials denied that security forces had a role in El-Sabagh’s death.

Shortly after her death, the Ministry of Religious Endowments refused to allow the party to reserve a hall in Omar Makram Mosque in downtown Cairo for El-Sabagh’s wake.

Prosecutors ordered a media gag on the case shortly after investigations started.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi promised in a speech in February that whoever is responsible for her death would be held accountable, describing Shaimaa as "a daughter" to him.

Search Keywords:
Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

17-03-2015 04:03pm
It is foolish to deny that they was a police terror attack
This shows that the notion that it was not a policeman was dumb. Clearly, just like in the case of Khaled Said, it was. What else could a logical person believe was the reason for the assassination? Only these guys commit this kind of terrorism. The only question is whether this suspect is the actual terrorist or whether this is a person setup to take the fall. Support accountability, justice, and the fight against state terror.
Comment's Title

© 2010 Ahram Online.