The trial session for the case on Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s death started Sunday at the Police Academy, where the court began to unseal the exhibits and watch video evidence.
In Sunday’s session, the court reviewed the case’s exhibits, which include CDs and 63 pictures. Amongst the evidence is one picture showing Al-Sabbagh lying on the ground after the dispersal of the protest while one of the witnesses is attempting to carry her, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat had referred a police officer from the Central Security Forces to the Criminal Court on charges of manslaughter in the case of Al-Sabbagh’s killing.
As the prosecution read out the order of referral during the trial session, the defendant denied the accusations against him, Al-Ahram reported. However, he admitted that he was the masked person who appears in the photos, according to Al-Haqanya, an independent human rights organisation.
The defence team present on behalf of the husband and mother of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh demanded an amount of EGP 100,000 for each of them, and an amount of EGP 40,000 for those injured during confrontations, Al-Ahram reported.
On 24 January, Al-Sabbagh was killed while attending a peaceful memorial demonstration for the victims 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.
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 police officer investigated for the activist’s killing had been placed under a media gag by the Prosecutor General in February, although details on the case continued to circulate in the media.
In March, Barakat officially announced the involvement of a policeman, Yassin El-Imam, in the killing of 32-year-old Al-Sabbagh, referring him to criminal court on charges of manslaughter.
Defence lawyer Ali Soliman had said that if the policeman was charged with “attempted murder”, he would have been deemed innocent as he did not leave his house with the intention of killing her. However, he added that “we are trying to gain the rights of a martyr”, and added that El-Imam’s charges might entail a three- to seven-year prison sentence.
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 case against 17 witnesses to the death of protestor Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh was adjourned Saturday by Abdeen Court until 23 May.
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. They have been accused of numerous charges, including violating the Protest Law, introduced by interim president Adly Mansour in 2013, outlawing unapproved demonstrations.