Egyptian policeman charged over fatal shooting of peaceful protester Shaimaa Sabbagh

Ms Sabbagh was hit as she marched through Cairo to lay a wreath commemorating the country's 2011 revolution

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Egypt’s public prosecutor has charged a policeman over the shooting of a peaceful protester. 

Images showing a bloodied Shaimaa Sabbagh dying in her husband’s arms just after she had been shot were widely shared after the incident on 24 January. Ms Sabbagh, 32, was hit by police fire as she marched through Cairo to lay a wreath commemorating Egypt’s 2011 revolution.

Although the decision was a rare one against Egypt’s security forces, and came after repeated denials of police responsibility, Ms Sabbagh’s friend Iman Shokry told The Independent that the charges are “just for appearances”. “They had to sacrifice this officer so we cool down a bit,” said Mr Shokry.

Azza Matar of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, of which Ms Shabbagh was a member, said that the wording of the charges is problematic. “It says that [the police officer] fired birdshot which hurt her and led to the end of her life – there is no mention of the word ‘death’, or ‘murder’.”

Ms Matar said the regime gave impunity to the security services and said 13 members of the Socialist Popular Alliance had been charged with violating Egypt’s infamous 2013 Protest Law after a recent raid on their Alexandria headquarters. The government has denied the raid took place.