Court delays Egypt brutality case verdict

Court postpones verdict on policemen charged over death of Khaled Said, whose case helped spark Egypt's revolution.

    Khaled Said's death caused public outrage that paved the way for the January 2011 uprising [Reuters]

    The trial of two Egyptian policemen charged over the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man allegedly fatally beaten in Alexandria a year ago, has been postponed until September 24, a judge told the court on Thursday.

    Said died in June 2010, allegedly after being dragged out of an internet cafe by plain-clothes police and assaulted in the street, according to witnesses.

    Pictures of his body, taken by his family in a morgue, caused public outrage that paved the way for Egypt's January 2011 uprising.

    Young Egyptians used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message, and to coordinate protests in Cairo and Alexandria calling for an end to torture and impunity.

    Facebook pages set up to express anger at Khaled Said's death would later be used to coordinate 'Day of Rage' protests on the streets of Cairo.

    In video

    Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reported from outside the courthouse in Alexandria.

    Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin speaking from Alexandria outside the courthouse, said that lawyers for Khalid's family submitted a new independent autopsy that could change the charges from manslaughter to torture and murder.

    "If new charges are filed against the two police officers they could include torture and murder. which carries the death penalty. Under the current charges they would have been sentenced to seven to 15 years.

    "But with the new charges they could face either life in prison or the death sentence."

    Mohyeldin emphasised the presence of  many protesters gathered in expectation of hearing a verdict because the trial had become an iconic symbol of the struggle of many young Egyptians.

    "A year after his death, Khaled Said’s family still wait for justice. His case highlights the widely shared belief that the Egyptian authorities are still not doing enough to deliver justice  - not only for Khaled Said but for all those unlawfully killed and injured by the security forces during mass protests earlier this year," said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    "This belief is exacerbated by the slowness with which the authorities are handling trials of police officers accused of killing protesters during the uprising, when more than 800 died, and the fact that many of those facing trial have not been suspended from active duty and remain in positions where they can intimidate witnesses and subvert justice," he said.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera before the trial's postponement, Said’s uncle, Ali El-Qassam, said: "We are anxious, but hopeful about the verdict.

    "I know that everyone in the world will be following the outcome. I know the Egyptian youth will react to whatever outcome the verdict will be in a peaceful and civil manner that represents Egypt."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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