An Egyptian criminal court sentenced five policemen to 10 years in prison in a rare judgment against security forces accused of killing protesters during the 18-day mass uprising that led to former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year.
Two others accused in the deaths of five protesters were given one-year suspended sentences, the court said in a faxed statement. The court also acquitted 10 of the 17 officers who had been charged in connection with the violence in the Greater Cairo district of Giza. Another 17 people were injured in the fighting.
The verdict, a day before the start of landmark presidential elections in Egypt, follows a series of recent court verdicts acquitting police officers accused of involvement in the deaths of some of the 846 people known to have died during the protests. A ruling in the case of Mubarak, charged with complicity in the killings, is due on June 2.
In another case, an appeals court upheld the sentence imposed on Lieutenant Yasser El-Shinawy, the head of criminal investigations in a Cairo police station. El-Shinawy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the torture and subsequent death of a man in custody, according to a faxed statement to journalists.
Separately, the head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations said in a telephone interview that 12 Christians sentenced to life terms yesterday for their involvement in last year’s sectarian clashes in the southern village of Abu Qurqas cannot appeal against their sentences except to the country’s military ruler.
Eight Muslims who were also charged in the case were acquitted, Nabil Gibrail, the organization’s head, said today.
The clashes, which took place in April 2010 following a dispute between Muslims and Christians in village in the province of Minya, left four people dead and heightened sectarian tensions in the country at a time when officials were struggling to restore security and order after Mubarak’s ouster.
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