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Court to hear lawyers' claims again in SPAP members' re-trial - Daily News Egypt

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Court to hear lawyers’ claims again in SPAP members’ re-trial

Party lawyer hopes for second acquittal on protest charges in Al-Sabbagh case

A court is to again hear lawyers’ claims in the trial against Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) members accused of protesting illegally in the Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh killing case.

According to SPAP lawyer Ali Soliman, annual administrative changes in the judiciary were behind the re-trial, since the prosecution appealed the initial acquittal verdict.

“Now that new judges have been assigned to the case, defence lawyers will present their arguments before the court,” he told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday. Soliman noted that no new evidence against the defendants was presented, and as yet, no date has been set for the trial session.

On 23 May, the court had acquitted 17 SPAP members of all charges, after they had organised a small-scale rally commemorating the 25 January Revolution.

The verdict had stated that the public assembly could not be categorised as a ‘protest’ due to the attendance of less than 30 people at the event. It added that the attendees did not have political demands, and therefore the gathering could not be considered a violation of the Protest Law.

To their benefit, a Central Security Forces (CSF) officer was convicted and sentenced by the criminal court to a strict 15-year prison term in June for shooting and killing SPAP member and activist Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh.

“We will maintain what has already been proven in the officer’s case,” Soliman said. “The police opened fire and violently dispersed the peaceful march with no justification.”

Al-Sabbagh was shot on 24 January, after security forces fired shots at SPAP members carrying flowers in commemoration of the ‘revolution’s martyrs’ near Tahrir Square. She died minutes later from birdshots to the back and neck, as her colleagues and those who came to her rescue were pursued and arrested by security forces.

Controversy further emerged after eye-witnesses to the incident were accused of protesting and included in the case.


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