The Qasr Al-Nil Misdemeanour Court will issue its final verdict on 26 September in the case involving members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) and witnesses to Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh’s killing.
“We hardly expect a prison term, but a heavy fine in the worst case scenario where the defendants get convicted,” SPAP defence lawyer Ali Soliman told Daily News Egypt Saturday after the trial session. Soliman added, however, that he expected them to be acquitted.
In May, the court acquitted 17 defendants in the case of protest charges, stating in detail that it had not considered the incident a protest. Instead, it said it was a peaceful commemoration march on the eve of the fourth anniversary of 25 January Revolution.
The defence is counting on this previously issued verdict, which the prosecution contested before court, in the hope that charges according to the controversial Protest Law would be brought.
In June, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced an officer from the Central Security Forces (CSF) to 15 years in prison, claiming he was dispersing the ‘protest’. The CSF officer was convicted of Al-Sabbagh’s death.
Soliman quoted the judge telling lawyers in the case “he might not recall their claims by September”, implying they should present their arguments in writing, which they had already prepared.
On 24 January, SPAP member Al-Sabbagh was participating in an announced march from the SPAP’s headquarters in Talaat Harb to Tahrir Square to put flowers in commemoration of the 25 January Revolution’s martyrs. The police immediately dispersed the group using birdshots and teargas which resulted in her injury and death.
Meanwhile, the case includes non-SPAP members, passers-by or eye witnesses to the events who voluntarily went to provide their testimonies, such as activist and lawyer Azza Soliman.
Soliman testified that she was sitting in a nearby café in Talaat Harb Street when she saw a group of nearly 30 people walking with flowers. She identified the marchers as SPAP members and greeted some members she knew.
She added that, shortly after, she heard police sirens and shooting, and that she saw policemen, some of which were masked, carrying long black rifles.