Alexandria Criminal Court sentenced police officer Osama Al-Kanisy to 15 years in
Belal, a Salafist, was tortured to death by State Security Investigations Service officers and forced to confess to taking part in the 2011 Alexandria church bombing.
The court found Al-Kanisy, a captain with State Security, guilty of being an accomplice to the murder as well as unlawfully arresting and torturing Belal.
Al-Kanisy was sentenced in absentia to life in prison back in December 2012 but handed himself in and appealed the verdict.
Two other defendants were also sentenced to life in prison in absentia while a third man was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security prison during the 20 December trial. A fourth man was found not guilty and acquitted.
A visibly shook Al-Kanisy told the lawyer representing Belal’s family that “we will meet in heaven and you will know I am innocent”.
Al-Kanisy told the court he was not involved in any fieldwork regarding the Alexandria church bombing case and that he held a desk position as part of the “international counter-terrorism” unit.
Plaintiff lawyers argued, however, that no such unit existed at the time and that it was formed after the 2011 Revolution when the State Security Investigations Service was dismantled and recreated as the Homeland Security division.
In the beginning of 2011 during New Year’s Eve celebrations, a car bomb went off outside Saints church in Alexandria killing 23 people and injuring 97. State Security arrested Belal and blamed him for the attack but failed to produce any evidence.
Belal died of torture during investigations that failed to arrest or identify the actual culprits of the bombing.