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Egypt court acquits police general of killing 25 Jan protesters in retrial

Ahram Online , Wednesday 5 Oct 2016
Tahrir Square
Egyptian anti-government demonstrators gather in Tahrir Square, the center of anti-government demonstrations, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. (AP)
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A Qalioubiya criminal court acquitted on Wednesday Farouk Lashin, the former head of Qalioubiya state security, and two of his aides, of killing protesters during the 2011 uprising.

In February 2014, the police general and his two aides were acquitted of murder charges but the general prosecution appealed the ruling, forcing a retrial.

According to news reports, Lashin's defence team argued during the retrial that prosecutors failed to present evidence showing that the police force carried live ammunition during the 18 day clashes, which left 864 protesters dead.

The defence also urged the court to apply a precedent established in a 2015 Court of Cassation ruling—which acquitted former interior minister Habib El-Adly of similar charges in a separate trial—to acquit Lashin.

In El-Adly's case, the court of cassation found that the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence of guilt in the killing of protesters and failed to inspect the crime scene.

Lashin and his aides are the latest in a series of acquittals of police officers in cases involving the killing of protesters during the early days of the January uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.

Last month, the court of cassation upheld a retrial decision to acquit low-ranking police officer Mohamed Ibrahim "Al-Sunni" of killing protesters outside a police station during an Old Cairo uprising.

"Al-Sunni" was the first member of the police force to be officially convicted of killing protesters.

During his retrial, defence lawyers argued that he acted in self-defence against protesters attempting to storm police stations.

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