Egypt policeman to be tried for woman activist's death

 An Egyptian police officer was referred to a criminal court on Tuesday over charges of shooting dead a female political activist in January, according to media reports.

IANS| Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 19:15 PM IST

Cairo: An Egyptian police officer was referred to a criminal court on Tuesday over charges of shooting dead a female political activist in January, according to media reports.

Egypt`s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred the officer to the Cairo Criminal Court for allegedly killing Shimaa el Sabbagh, a leftist political activist, state-run MENA news agency reported.

Sabbagh died of wounds she sustained as police dispersed a protest held in Cairo on January 24 to commemorate the victims of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak, a statement by the prosecutor`s office said.

The prosecution charged the officer with the crime of carrying out a "beating that led to death", according to an Al Ahram online report.

The prosecution also referred members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, which organised the protest, to the criminal court for violating a 2013 law which outlaws unauthorised demonstrations.

Sabbagh`s death provoked international condemnation as she was taking part in a peaceful rally.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had ordered an urgent investigation into the incident to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Prosecutors had ordered a media gag on the case shortly after investigations started.

Police launched a harsh crackdown on Islamists after the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, amid fears of a return of the oppression on civilians by the security forces, which had triggered the 2011 uprising.

According to reports, Sabbagh`s death was behind the sacking of interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the prosecutor also ordered sending 16 other defendants to court over the killing of football fans in February.