CAIRO: A police officer convicted of killing a pregnant woman has been given a oneyear prison sentence, triggering indignation from her family as well as human rights activists.
Thirty-six-year-old Mervat Abdel Fatah from Samalout, Minya, died 10 minutes after being physically assaulted by police officers who stormed her home looking for her brother-in-law in October 2008.
The fatal assault was witnessed by her son, Sayyed, approximately eight years old at the time.
The Minya court found Ahmed Mohamed Anwar guilty of assault that leads to death, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.
The police officer was also convicted of misusing force against Abdel Fatah’s sister-in-law, Farhana Sayyed Reyad.
Malek Adly, a lawyer from the Hisham Mubarak Law Center told Daily News Egypt that the prosecution case against Anwar had been significantly undermined by police foul play.
“Nine of Mervat’s relatives and eyewitnesses were imprisoned by the police after they started giving evidence to try to make them change their testimony and withdraw the civil case against Anwar, Adly explained.
“We complained repeatedly about this to the public prosecution office but no measures were taken. As a result of this intimidation, testimony was falsified. In addition the court was cognizant of other factors which affected the punishment handed down, such as the fact that Anwar was a police officer on duty at the time of the incident.
“The court therefore takes into account the possibility that he may have been physically assaulted during the incident, said Adly.
The local press reported Sunday, that her family held a procession carrying Abdel Fatah’s symbolic empty hearse.
To them, this was a statement expressing that the minimal verdict was tantamount to a second murder, this time, by the authorities.