Defence lawyer Ali Soliman responded to Forensic Authority statements Monday blaming Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s death on her being “too slim”, telling Daily News Egypt “the authorities are trying to save their man”.
Forensic Authority spokesman Hisham AbdelHamid said in a TV interview on private channel, Sada Al-Balad, that “according to science, Al-Sabbagh shouldn’t have died, as it is impossible for the small birdshots on Al-Sabbagh’s back to kill anyone, it’s a rare case”.
However, Soliman said that the birdshots would have killed anyone from that distance.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice announced in a Monday statement that it will investigate AbdelHamid’s comments and, accordingly, “necessary measures” will be taken.
Al-Sabbagh, a member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP), was shot during a protest near Tahrir Square organised by the party ahead of the 25 January Revolution’s fourth anniversary to commemorate the revolution’s martyrs.
A Forensic Authority primary report stated she was killed as a result of birdshots from a distance of eight metres, causing laceration to the lungs and heart, with major haemorrhage.
Former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim stressed in a press conference following the incident, that if the involvement of a policeman was proven during the investigations “I, myself, will hand him to court”.
He added however that security forces don’t use any weapons during peaceful protest except for teargas.
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat opened an investigation into Al-Sabbagh’s death on the same day. He confirmed that all available evidence would be reviewed, and announced his commitment to “apply the law to everyone”. In February, he ordered that a media gag be placed on the case, although details on the case have continued to circulate in the media.
In March, Barakat officially announced the involvement of a policeman, Yassin El-Imam, in the killing of 32-year-old Al-Sabbagh, referring him to criminal court on charges of manslaughter.
Soliman added that if the policeman was charged with “attempted murder”, he would have been deemed innocent as he did not leave his house with the intention of killing her. However, he added that “we are trying to gain the rights of a martyr”, and added that El-Imam’s charges might entail a three- to seven-year prison sentence.
SPAP announced on 18 March that the case papers are still hidden from the defence committee.
The first trial in Al-Sabbagh’s case is scheduled for 4 April, where 17 defendants from SPAP are charged with illegal protesting and breaching security and public order. Al-Sabbagh was one of the defendants, however she has been excluded following her death.
Soliman said that if the case papers are kept hidden until then, “we will wait to the day of the trial where a request will be handed to the court to provide us with the details”.