Egypt convicts 2 officers of torture and murder of detainee
Dec. 12, 2015
CAIRO (AP) — A Cairo court convicted two officers of torture and murder, sentencing each to five years in jail on Saturday in the killing of a detained lawyer, the latest in a government crackdown on police officers accused of brutality.
The verdict came after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to punish abusive officers following the recent deaths of several detainees. Police abuse was one of the main grievances of protesters in the 2011 uprising which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
Judge Osama Shaheen said he sentenced national security officers Omar Mahmoud and Mohamed el-Anwar for beating lawyer Karim Hamdi to death in an eastern Cairo neighborhood in February.
Hamdi was detained on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi hailed. Morsi was overthrown by the military in 2013.
Also Saturday, a court in Cairo delayed the trial of 739 people accused of staging an armed sit-in because the courtroom couldn't accommodate all of them.
The trial was postponed until Feb. 6, when expansion work at the courthouse is scheduled to be completed. The defendants are accused of organizing an armed gathering, killing policemen and civilians, and destroying public property, among other charges.
The defendants include Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and Osama Morsi, the son of the former president. The court ordered the arrest of Osama Morsi.
Also among the defendants is photographer Mahmoud Abou-Zeid, known by his nickname Shawkan, who was arrested in August 2013 while taking photographs of the government's violent dispersal of a sit-in by Mohammed Morsi supporters. Hundreds were killed in the dispersal.
Thousands of Morsi supporters have been rounded up since, many facing trial on violence-related charges. But detentions and trials also include secular and liberal activists, including those who galvanized support for Mubarak's ouster in 2011.