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Trial of witnesses to Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s death adjourned - Daily News Egypt

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Trial of witnesses to Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s death adjourned

Charges against 17 defendants seen as attempt to silence testimonies against police responsibility


On 24 January, Al-Sabbagh was attending a peaceful memorial demonstration to the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution, alongside fellow Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) members.  (Photo by Ahmed Abdeen)
On 24 January, Al-Sabbagh was attending a peaceful memorial demonstration to the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution, alongside fellow Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) members.
(Photo by Ahmed Abdeen)

The case against 17 witnesses to the death of protester Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh was adjourned Saturday by Abdeen Court until 23 May.

In the meantime, the judge is considering whether to re-examine information presented by the prosecution, as requested by the defence.

On 24 January, Al-Sabbagh was attending a peaceful memorial demonstration to the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution, alongside fellow Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) members. The peaceful demonstrators hoped to place commemorative flowers by Tahrir Square, the heart of the uprising, but were forcibly dispersed by security forces.

The Forensic Medicine Authority concluded that Al-Sabbagh’s death was caused by birdshot to the back, causing lacerations in the lungs and heart and major haemorrhage. The case has continued to spark controversy after authorities filed charges against the eyewitnesses.

The 17 defendants include fellow party-member Mostafa Abdel Aal, a doctor who came to attend to Al-Sabbagh, and Azza Soliman, a prominent rights activist who was at lunch in a nearby cafe.

The defendants have been accused of numerous charges, including violating the Protest Law, introduced by interim president Adly Mansour in 2013, outlawing unapproved demonstrations.

The defence have also called for a new and independent judge to re-examine the evidence submitted by the prosecution. The defendants’ lawyers had previously requested the case’s postponement until Monday, as they had been unable to access copies of the investigations’ report.

While the Ministry of Interior initially denied responsibility, witnesses claim that a member of the security forces discharged the birdshot that caused Al-Sabbagh’s death. The trial of a policeman investigated for the activist’s killing has been placed under a media gag by the Prosecutor General.

However, according to SPAP member Talaat Fahmy, who spoke to Daily News Egypt outside the latest court session, the police put together a list of “fabricated charges” against the 17. Those include assaulting security officers and using dangerous fireworks.

“All of that, despite that there were videos showing what really happened,” he said. The activists maintain that protest was peaceful and that the security forces failed to warn them before opening fire with birdshots.

 

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