CAIRO: The family of a man killed by policemen says they will appeal the five-year prison sentence handed down Thursday by the Cairo Criminal Court.
Hassan Mohamed Hassan and Maher Hussein Mohamed were convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Nasser Sadiq Gadallah, who was thrown off a balcony in August 2007 by the two policemen.
Naguib Gobriel, the Gadallah family’s lawyer, told Daily News Egypt that the two policemen were charged with the wrong offence.
“The court did not believe that they should be charged with murder despite the fact that we submitted strong arguments in favor of this and despite the evidence provided by witnesses who saw what happened, Gobriel said.
Gadallah’s death at his home in Omraneyya was witnessed by his then eight-year-old son Beshoy, who told the police that the policemen picked up his father by his legs and threw him over, as well as Gadallah’s neighbors who were woken up by the sound of the police entering the victim’s home at dawn.
Gad Sadiq Gadallah, the victim’s brother, told Daily News Egypt in August 2007 that a large crowd attacked the police officers when they tried to escape the scene.
According to Gadallah’s widow, Mariam, speaking in a video posted on the “Torture in Egypt blog, her husband died “because he was trying to exercise his rights. His only crime was that he filed a complaint and refused to withdraw it.
Roughly one week before he was killed, Gadallah had filed a complaint against policeman Amir Yehya who had stopped him in the street, taken his mobile phone and LE 290 in cash.
The complaint was made on July 31, 2007 but on Aug. 6, 2007 Gadallah told lawyer Walid Diab that he wanted to withdraw it because a witness who had given evidence against Yehya was being threatened by the police.
Diab, however, persuaded him that it could not be withdrawn at this stage of the proceedings.
“On Aug. 7, 2007 at dawn Gadallah rang me and said they re breaking the door down and trying to get in, then his voice disappeared and I heard insults and the sound of beating, Diab is quoted as saying on the “Torture in Egypt blog.
“I then heard a woman [Gadallah s wife] saying shame on you, shame on you, he s dead, he s dead!
Gadallah s legal team have appealed the verdict and demanded that the two policemen be charged with murder.
Gobriel is also suing the Interior Ministry for LE 1 million in damages for Gadallah s death.
The lawyer was also strongly critical of the decision not to charge police officer Ahmed Nawawy of any crime in relation to the incident.
According to witnesses, Nawawy was standing underneath Gadallah s home when he was thrown off the third floor balcony.