Two Egyptian policemen were sentenced to 10 years in jail Monday for the killing of a blogger whose death rallied protesters in the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, AFP reported.
The two were sentenced following a retrial for the manslaughter and torture of Khaled Said in June 2010, when they had unlawfully arrested him at an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
The two police, Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Ismail Suleiman, had initially been sentenced to seven years in October 2011 for excessive brutality.
Said’s death galvanized protests against then-president Hosni Mubarak, after pictures emerged online of the 28-year-old’s mangled face, reported AFP.
The government further enraged Mubarak’s opponents when it tried to cover up the killing by alleging he choked on a bag of drugs.
A Facebook group entitled “We are all Khaled Said” helped organize the 18-day protests that drove Mubarak’s hated police force from the streets and forced him to resign in February 2011.
The sentencing comes amid renewed popularity for the police, who supported the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July, and a pattern of acquittals for policemen tried for killing protesters during the anti-Mubarak revolt.
Both defendants were in a caged dock when judge Ismail Attiya delivered the verdict. They showed little emotion on hearing the sentence.
Their lawyer said he would appeal the verdict, and relatives yelled at police outside the court room, “You sold out your men!”
Mahmoud Abdel Rahman, a lawyer for Said’s family, told AFP “justice has been delivered for all” and that the verdict sent a message of “deterrence to a powerful institution.”
Police and the forensic authority had initially said that Said choked to death after swallowing a packet of drugs.
Another forensic report later said he died of asphyxiation after being beaten, and that the packet of drugs was thrust in his mouth when he was unconscious.
Since Morsi’s ouster, the military-installed government has pressed an extensive crackdown on protests, mainly those of his Islamist supporters, frequently setting off violent street clashes.
In December, a court sentenced three activists who spearheaded the 2011 uprising against Mubarak to three years in jail for organizing an unlicensed protest.
Another prominent pro-democracy activist, Alaa Abdel Fattah, has also been arrested for allegedly taking part in a violent and illegal protest.
More than 1,000 people, mainly Morsi supporters, have been killed since July 3 when he was ousted and authorities have rounded up some 2,000 Islamists, including most of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member.