CAIRO: The trial of Giza police officer Adel Al-Shahed, 23, for the murder of Tamer Mashour, 31, in Mohandiseen in November 2008 began Saturday and will resume today.
During the Sunday hearing, the court heard eye-witness accounts and the testimonies of police officers who were called to the scene.
On the first court session Saturday, Al-Shahed admitted to the presiding judge that he had killed Mashhour but said that it was in self defense.
There were conflicting reports from witnesses over the events that took place that night near the Shooting Club.
Ihab Mashhour, brother of the deceased, told Daily News Egypt that it was difficult to predict what the outcome of the trial would be, but that the forensic report backed his version of the events.
“It is in the hands of the judiciary, he said. He had not been allowed to attend Sunday’s session because the judge had decided that witnesses were not allowed to be present during the testimony of other witnesses.
Magd Eldin Zaher, lawyer for Al-Shahed during the initial investigations but not his trial lawyer, and spokesman for the defense team, told Daily News Egypt that the policeman did not intend to kill him at all.
“It seems the court will try to conclude the case as soon as possible. We hope the media handles this case with impartiality and cautiousness because there are two families that have been devastated, one has lost its son and the other might lose theirs.
There were allegations that four bullets were shot into the victim’s body.
The incident on the night of the shooting has been shrouded in ambiguity, especially the events surrounding the moment when Al-Shahed shot Mashhour in the stomach, the bullet which ended his life.
According to Zaher, Al-Shahed and his brother had just come from a funeral in Giza and were driving down Al-Thawra street in Mohandiseen when they stopped at a kiosk for Shahed to buy cigarettes.
Ihab, Tamer’s brother, was in the car behind them and was trying to overtake them.
Words were exchanged as Ihab overtook Al-Shahed’s brother and an altercation ensued. People intervened to break up the fight and Ihab’s shirt was torn in the process. According to Zaher, Ihab procured an air gun from the glove compartment of his car and headed toward Shahed’s brother.
At this point Al-Shahed, who was at the kiosk and dressed in civilian clothes, took out his gun and fired a shot in the air near Ihab’s head, before confiscating his air gun. Al-Shahed called the police and Ihab called his brother Tamer who was at a café nearby.
Zaher alleges that Tamer came with a baseball bat with which he assaulted Al-Shahed and his brother. Ihab denied that Tamer was carrying a baseball bat or any other instrument that could be used as a weapon.
Again the stories diverge at this point. The altercation moved to the corner of Al-Nargis Street in front of a building still under construction. Al-Shahed claims that Tamer was attacking him and his brother with the baseball bat.
Al-Shahed tripped over a railing and fired a shot aimed at Tamer’s legs, which missed him and instead hit another witness, Bassem El-Shuweihy.
After that testimonies converged. There was a debate at some point over whether Al-Shahed was carrying a real gun or not, then the stories again differ.
Al-Shahed claims that after he fired the shot that hit El-Shuweihy, Tamer ran at him and proceeded to hit him with the alleged bat. It was then that Tamer took the bullet in the stomach.
Ihab, the victim’s brother, disputed this version of events, saying, “He had a gun which he was shooting at everyone’s legs. Everyone was frightened of course. When he shot Bassem El-Shuweihy, Tamer pushed him away.
Tamer was hesitant, but Al-Shahed didn’t give him a chance. Tamer told him ‘Are you going to shoot at us?’ and he said ‘Yes’, and he did. There was a distance of at least two meters between them and the forensic report proves this. The report backs our statements, so how was it self defense?
Some newspaper reports alleged that the autopsy on the victim’s body indicated that the body was tampered with to conceal conclusive evidence of the crime.
Commenting on these allegations, lawyer Magd Eldin Zaher said: “I think if this did happen, it was not intentional. I think when Tamer was taken to Ibn Sina Hospital one of the doctors might have tried to remove the bullet. Adel would not have benefited from removing the bullet; it would be detrimental to his case if he or a member of his family had done something like this.