For 20 weeks, the family of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh has been living in agony and exhaustion, waiting for justice to prevail so that their pain can be relieved. “Today, we accept condolences for our daughter,” said her aunt Safaa on 11 June after the verdict.
Every trial session has been a burden for Safaa, Al-Sabbagh’s older uncle, and cousin Samy, who also raised her as her big brother.
“We are grateful to the president, who said she was like his daughter and he would bring back her right,” Safaa said. “But this is only part of her rights and we will keep fighting for her full rights.”
Yet, the family felt compassion for the family of convicted 24-year-old police officer Yassin Salah. “He is so young and this ruins his future. May God give them patience,” Safaa said in court. But the conviction of the police officer was not all there was in the case to them.
Her cousin Samy revealed that Al-Sabbagh was under state pressure due to her political activism. “Sometimes we would be walking and she would tell me ‘Samy this man has been following me all day’,” he said in an interview with Daily News.
“Sometimes she would brag about how she was able to make her ‘followers’ lose her,” he added. Samy said that Al-Sabbagh was directly threatened with the kidnapping of her six-year-old son Belal.
With regret, the family said they had never supported Al-Sabbagh’s activities or views, but they could see how passionate she was about it, saying she believed in it “as if it was a national duty”.
It was only after she passed away and they were swamped with many visits from Al-Sabbagh’s colleagues that they realised that she had accomplished so much in a world they knew nothing about. “We are so proud of her,” they said in tears.
The family was extremely angry at controversial TV host Ahmed Moussa, whom they said defamed Al-Sabbagh and harmed her family, without even knowing who she was. “Did he know that her father was a very respectable and well-positioned Al-Azhar preacher?” said her uncle Samy.
Not only did Al-Sabbagh leave behind a shattered family, but most importantly a young boy who still fails to understand what happened to his mother.
“But she raised him well,” said Safaa. “When he grows up, he wants to become a police officer to fight ‘Daesh’ [Islamic State].”