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Police birdshot killed activist El-Shabagh because 'she was too skinny': Egypt forensic spokesman

Forensic medicine authority spokesman said birdshot killed activist Shaimaa El-Sabagh because she 'had no fats' to stand between shot and her heart and lungs, describing her death as an 'extremely rare case'

Ahram Online , Sunday 22 Mar 2015
Shaimaa el-Sabbagh
32-year-old mother Shaimaa el-Sabbagh holds a poster during a protest in downtown CairoJan 24, 2015 photo, (Photo: AP)
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An Egyptian leftist activist shot by police with birdshot in January died "because she was too skinny," a spokesman for the forensic medicine authority said on Saturday.

Hisham Abdel-Hamid said that the 33-year-old Shaimaa El-Shabagh had "no fats, so [birdshot] particles easily penetrated into her heart and lungs causing her death."

"She was not supposed to die…this is an extremely rare case," Abdel-Hamid told a news show on private television channel Sada El-Balad.

"It is impossible that small-particle birdshot from an eight-metre distance kills…But this is her fate," he added.

Abdel-Hamid continued to explain that the person standing next to El-Sabagh in the protest was not killed despite being shot in the neck as he had "a layer of fat."

El-Sabagh was killed on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution while she was going to lay a commemorative wreath in Tahrir square with a few dozen other activists.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor general referred a police officer from the force that dispersed the protest to criminal court over El-Sabagh's killing, charging him with "beating that led to death."

The prosecution said investigations revealed El-Sabagh died from wounds sustained from "light birdshot" after a central security forces officer shot at her and other protesters.

Her party, the Socialist Popular Alliance, accused the police of "premeditated murder." Police officials initially denied that security forces played a role in El-Sabagh's death.

El-Sabagh's case caused local and international outcry, having renewed accusations against Egyptian police of excessive and deadly force.

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