A police officer, accused of shooting and killing a taxi driver in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar in February, was sentenced to life in prison by the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday.
The officer’s defence team argued that the officer was beaten and assaulted during the fight with the taxi driver, named Ismail. The defence also appealed against the interrogation process, arguing that the prosecution questioned their client without having legal representation. The team also said that the defendant was under the effect of anaesthetics in the hospital.
This session was largely attended by the family of the deceased driver, who were chanting for “retribution”. Several photojournalists reported that they were banned from entering the session, when the court read the verdict.
During previous sessions, clashes took place between the family of Ismail and the defence team.
The prosecution said the police officer deliberately shot the driver, despite purported claims that the shot was targeted towards the sky to break up the fight.
When the dispute intensified, the policemen showed his weapon and intentionally shot the driver in the head, intending to injure him, from just four meters away.
The prosecution summoned an array of police officers for testimony as well as eye witnesses who are also residents in the same district. In the results of its investigation, the prosecution said there is consistency between testimonies presented by the nine witnesses summoned.
The forensic medical report said the bullet that killed Ismail is from the weapon of the officer.
In response to the incident, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to discuss the case.
Al-Sisi ordered Abdel Ghaffar to prepare legislative measures to guarantee the accountability and performance of security forces operating in civilian areas.
The trial comes rather faster than is the norm in Egyptian courts, given the importance of the incident and the outrage of the victim’s family expressed in a large protest that surrounded the Cairo Security Directorate following the incident.
Since the beginning of 2016, there has been a string of cases of police abuse. However, the Ministry of Interior has repeatedly denied accusations of systematic and widespread abuses of state power.