Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced two police officers to 10 years in prison for the murder of Khaled Said, an Egyptian from Alexandria whose brutal death helped spark to the eruption of the revolution in Egypt in 2011.
The two police officers, Awad Suleiman and Mahmoud Salah, were convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. The court, however, upheld an appeal against the original sentence and passed a longer 10-year sentence for “the use of torture.”
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Khaled Said’s sister, Zahra, said: “Nothing will bring Khaled back, but we see the sentence as redress of the situation for Khaled after a series of rumors and allegations about the case.”
She added: “We hoped for the maximum 15 years, but we are satisfied with this sentence, especially since the charge was amended from ‘beating leading to death’ to ‘torture leading to death.’”
In June 2010, 28-year-old Khaled Said was arrested and beaten by police outside an Internet café in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber district.
The police have always maintained he was arrested for possessing drugs, but Said’s family later claimed he was arrested and beaten for posting a video online implicating the police in a drug deal.
Said eventually died after being tortured to death while in police custody, according to the prosecution. But the police repeatedly denied he had died at the hands of officers, releasing an official autopsy statement that said his death was a result of choking on a packet of drugs he swallowed to hide from the two officers.
However, pictures later released of him lying on a hospital bed with his face badly disfigured prompted an outcry in Egypt and doubts over the police reports.
The incident prompted Google executive Wael Ghoneim to create a Facebook page, ‘We are all Khaled Said,’ which helped galvanize the protests in January 2011 that eventually led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
In another incident, two police officers were killed and two others injured on Monday in four separate shootings across Egypt.
A security source speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said one of the officers, a corporal from the Beni Suef police directorate, was killed by unknown assailants on a motorcycle, who shot him on his way to work. The other police officer was killed when armed men fired at him in the Hawamdeyah area of Giza, the source added.
Two other police officers were injured when assailants on a motorcycle fired at a police patrol in Giza.
The Interior Ministry has accused the Muslim Brotherhood of responsibility for the attacks and said it had uncovered a number of cells affiliated to the organization. The Brotherhood has denied the allegations.
Speaking of one of the officers killed, newly-appointed Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said: “The Interior Ministry will take care of the family of the martyr and do all it can to apprehend the terrorists who killed him and bring them to justice.”
Mahlab has said that restoring the country’s security and “defeating terrorism”—a phrase whose use by authorities is now synonymous with a crackdown on the Brotherhood—are his new government’s top priorities.
Dozens of people protested in Mansoura against the targeting of police officers on Monday. Protesters shouted slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood and condemned the “terrorist acts” that targeted police officers.
A spokesperson for the Egyptian army, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, said in a statement on his Facebook page that “Army units captured 21 takfirists and criminals affiliated to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood” in northern Sinai.
The statement said the army confiscated shotguns, machine guns, and a quantity of ammunition and knives in the operation.