Outrage in Egypt over 7-year sentence for Khaled Said's murderers

Zeinab El Gundy and Yasmine Fathy , Thursday 27 Oct 2011

Many Egyptians were outraged over the mild sentence handed out in the murder of Khaled Said, whose brutal killing at police hands over a year ago helped trigger the Egyptian revolution

Khaled Said
File photo: The mother of Egyptian activist Khaled Said prays by Said's grave on the first anniversary of his death in the port city of Alexandria June 6, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

“Khaled is still unhappy.” With these few word the iconic ‘Kolena Khaled Said’ Facebook page summed up the seven-year passed down on the two policemen convicted for killing Said (Arabic for happy) last June. The brutal death in broad daylight of the 28-year-old Said was seen as one of the turning points that spurred an uprising on 25 January against the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.

On hearing the sentence, Khaled Said’s mother, Laila Marzouk, was in a state of complete shock. She could not attend the session, which no one was aware would be for sentencing.

“I thought that they would be executed. I am shocked that they only got seven years. How can they brutally kill my son and get only seven years? Seven years is a sentence political activists get, how can a murderer receive the same sentence?” Mrs. Marzouk wondered in dismay.

“My heart is torn and I am in a state of shock but we will not be silent, God does not approve this,” She told Ahram Online. Mrs. Marzouk also wondered Why there was no media like before following the trial.

Marzouk also revealed that the families of two convicted policemen attacked Said’s relatives and supporters in the courtroom. “How do they dare to get angry at this sentence while the two policemen killed my son?” she said. “Thank God that I did not go because I am diabetic, they would have killed me as they killed my son.”

The fact that the police and military police left the courtroom Marzouk holds to blame for the assault on her family by the killers’ families. Marzouk, still uncertain over the legal information she has received, believes the two policemen could serve as little as three years in prison as they have already been detained for two. 

The internet saw a wave of dismayed and angry responses to the length of the sentence. “Khaled helped the revolution but the revolution did not help him,” was one post typical of the feelings running high. Calls were made for a protest march tonight from Tahrir Square to the High Court in Cairo as well as for the prosecutor-general, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, to resign.

Renowned activist and the administrator of the ‘Kolena Khaled Said’ Facebook page Wael Ghoneim posted on Twitter: “It is our right to be angry but we are in a battle, the right of Khaled and every Egyptian like him will return.”

Mona Seif, a prominent human rights activist and founding member of the “No for Military Trials” campaign, wondered how the convicted policemen received seven years sentence for killing Said while young men are given the same prison term by military courts for weapons possession.

Human rights activist and lawyer Hafiz Abu Seada also took to Twitter to declare that he was preparing a legal memo that he will present to the general prosecution in order to appeal the sentence and change the charge from manslaughter to death by torture based on the anti-torture treaties to which Egypt is a signatory.

Abu Seada revealed that Khaled Said’s uncle has approved such a move. 

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