Egypt's prosecutor-general has referred a police officer to a criminal court over the shooting of peaceful protestor Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, though he is charged with "beating that led to death."
Holding police officers accountable for their actions has been a problem plaguing Egypt. Looking to turn a new leaf, the prosecutor-general has decided to refer a police officer to a criminal court over the killing of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh at a peaceful demonstration in January 2015.
According to the statement released on Tuesday, the prosecution announced that they will press charges against the officer for a “beating that led to death.” Many will welcome holding a police officer for killing el-Sabbagh responsible, but at the same time the charge is odd, considering that el-Sabbagh died of wounds resulting from birdshots and not a beating.
Some will speculate that there may be a connection between this decision and the fact that El-Sabbagh's political party, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, have filed a formal complaint against the newly appointed Interior Minister and top police officials, after raiding their office last week, though the ministry denied that today. Obviously, we haven’t been able to find evidence to make this connection, however believe the timing is suspect.
Here’s hoping that the officer is held responsible for his crime, however we worry that on the charges of a “beating that led to death,” that he may be found not guilty, as El-Sabbagh was not beaten but rather shot.
UPDATE: After news broke the story was updated, as the prosecution has decided to refer members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, who organised the protest, to criminal court for violating the 2013 protest law which outlaws unauthorised demonstrations. Also in the update is that the prosecution is accusing the officer of inflicting "intentional injury" to other protesters.