The Court of Appeal overturned the conviction Sunday of the central security forces officer who had been sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security prison after killing political activist Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, also known as the Martyr of Roses, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.
The appeal prosecution previously recommended the court accept the appeal and grant the defendant a retrial.
The Prosecution of Appeal’s advisory opinion was given despite a plethora of evidence being provided including video footage and photos that prove the officer’s guilt, that he shot El-Sabbagh.
El-Sabbagh’s lawyer and head of Al-Haqaneyya foundation for rights and freedoms Mohammed Abdel Aziz told Daily News Egypt that all the evidence condemning the officer will be presented again to the court.
“The evidence is sufficient and discloses the incident fully; it is clearly shown that the officer shot El-Sabbagh with his gun,” Abdel Aziz said. He adhered to the previous verdict and will insist on providing the court with all necessary information to condemn the officer.
Abdel Aziz said whether or not the defendant will be released is still unclear.
According to a statement released by the Socialist Popular Alliance party, the party’s political bureau assigned El-Sabbagh’s defence authority to request the prosecution immediately set a date for the retrial.
The statement also added that the defence authority will follow all phases of the retrial and will provide the court with all evidences to convict the officer.
The session held on Sunday was attended by notorious lawyer Farid El-Deeb who was present in defence of the accused officer.
El-Deeb argued that the killing was not intentional and there was no criminal intent. “The officer is only 25 years old and doesn’t have enough experience in dealing with protests,” he said. He said the march was organised by the Socialist Popular Alliance party without prior permission, which does not comply with the Egyptian law; the sudden outbreak of the protest disturbed the officers.
Former general prosecutor Hisham Barakat referred the accused officer to the Cairo Criminal Court in May 2015 after investigations proved he killed El-Sabbagh.
Al-Sabagh was demonstrating with other protesters in Talaat Harb Square on 24 January 2015 when police decided to disperse the group using birdshot pellets and tear gas. One of the policemen fired a shot that killed her.
Justice Ministry’s Forensic Medical Authority later stated that Al-Sabagh died from lacerations to her heart and lungs caused by birdshot pellets.
El-Sabbagh’s death sparked local and international condemnation since it is considered to be a serious violation of freedom of expression.