Egyptian police officers jailed for death in custody of Khaled Said that sparked uprising against Hosni Mubarak

 

Two policemen have been jailed for 10 years each for the killing of a man whose death helped galvanise the uprising in Egypt against Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Khaled Said, 28, was beaten and tortured in police custody in Alexandria in 2010. The officers were originally jailed for seven years, but a retrial was ordered.

Photographs of the dead Mr Said's face, disfigured by what appeared to be a brutal beating, were posted on the Internet and became a rallying cry against rampant police abuse under Mubarak.

The two low-ranking policemen, Awad Suliman and Mahmoud Salah, had previously been convicted and handed sentences of seven years but that conviction was later overturned and a new trial was ordered.

Authorities long denied that Mr Said was tortured to death, with successive forensic reports and official statements claiming he had choked on a packet of drugs he swallowed to hide it from the approaching policemen.

His sister Zahraa wrote on her Facebook page that the sentences vindicated her brother, as they affirmed he died under torture and not from suffocation from swallowing drugs.

"The 10-year sentences for the killers of Khaled Said are on charges of the torture that led to his death, and not like they used to say that he swallowed a packet," she wrote. "We were expecting the maximum penalty (the death sentence) to be levied on the killers. But victory comes only from God."

Activists had used a Facebook page set up in Mr Said's memory to call for the protests that ultimately forced Mubarak from power in February 2011. The verdict may still be appealed.

Meanwhile, legal proceedings against police accused of killing hundreds of demonstrators have largely stalled, with most of those prosecuted acquitted and few new cases filed.

Security agencies meanwhile say a tight grip is necessary to restore stability, particularly with a surge in attacks by militant groups, mostly targeting police, following the army's July ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

AP

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