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Officer acquitted in police torture case

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Initially sentenced to life imprisonment, officer’s conviction overturned on appeal

Image circulating online of Sayed Belal who died in police custody in Alexandria after allegedly being tortured into confessing his role in the bombing in 2011 of the All Saints Church

Image circulating online of Sayed Belal who died in police custody in Alexandria after allegedly being tortured into confessing his role in the bombing in 2011 of the All Saints Church

By Salma Abdullah

The Alexandria Criminal court on Monday acquitted police officer Ahmed Mostafa Kamel of charges of torturing to death suspect Sayed Belal during interrogations over the bombing of Al-Qeddesine Church.

The state security officer was initially sentenced to 25 years in absentia before the court accepted his appeal and ordered a retrial.

Mamdouh Ismail, one of the victim’s lawyers, said a complaint will be filed to the prosecutor general. He added that not all police officers and officials involved in the case had been investigated.

Khalaf Baioumy, another of the victim’s lawyers, said he would file a case against interior ministry officials for their refusal to present “real” evidence against the officer, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. Baioumy added he had also called on the public prosecution to file an appeal against the verdict.

Kamel is the second defendant to be acquitted in the case, following police officer Mahmoud Abdel-Alim, whose conviction was overturnedlast December.

Police officer Osama El-Keneisy was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment but the court ordered his retrial after he turned himself in, and his sentence was reduced to 15 years in April.

Defendants Mohamed El-Shimy and Hossam El-Shennawy each received a 15-year sentence for torturing and killing Belal last year.

Belal, a Salafi, was tortured to death by State Security Investigations Service officers in an effort to make him confess responsibilitiy for the 2011 Alexandria church bombing.


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