Egypt court adjourns trial of El-Sabagh witnesses accused of protesting

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Apr 2015

Those charged were originally witnesses in the investigation into the murder of Shaimaa El-Sabagh murder case but are now on trial for illegal protesting

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)

An Egyptian court adjourned on Saturday the trial of 17 people who are charged with taking part in the peaceful protest on 24 January during which activist Shaimaa El-Sabagh was shot dead.

Fourteen defendents, like El-Sabagh, belong to the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, while three do not.

One of those charged, lawyer Azza Soleiman, has denied protesting and said she was having lunch at a café near the protest when she saw the dispersal. She has said that she came forward after witnessing Al-Sabagh being shot and volunteered to testify. 

A social media campaign titled "Do Not Prosecute Hope" rallied support for those charged, who were originally witnesses in El-Sabagh's murder case, but were later listed as defendants charged with breaking the protest law.

Security forces dispersed the protesters, who were marching to Tahrir Square to lay flowers in remembrance of slain revolutionaries. Several protesters were shot with birdshot; El-Sabagh died of her injures.

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.

A Central Security Forces officer is currently on trial for shooting El-Sabagh, causing her death.

A protest law issued in 2013 bans unauthorised protests. Hundreds of Egyptians have been jailed for violating its provisions.

The trial was adjourned to 9 May.


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