Egyptian court frees policeman accused of torture, killing

Criminal court in Egypt clears policeman of torture, killing of detainee in 2011

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Egyptian soldiers and police stand guard with armoured personnel carriers (APC) outside the criminal court in Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria during the retrial of two policemen

An Egyptian court has freed a former security officer on Tuesday accused of the extrajudicial torturing to death of a detainee suspected of bombing a church in Alexandria before the 2011 revolution. 

The recent judgement is the latest in a wave of brutality and lawlessness amid the torturing of people involved in political protest by Egyptian security forces.

The officer, Hossam al-Shenawy, was charged of using torture to get a confession from Sayydi Bilal.  

Bilal died in custody and it later became known that he was not the perpetrator of the attack on the church which killed more than 20 people on New Year’s Eve.

Previously, Shenaway was among one of four policemen who had been sentenced to life in absentia over the death of Bilal and the torture of others accused of the bombing.  

Two policemen handed themselves in and were freed while the third handed himself in and received a 15-year prison sentence.  

Security was tightened during the hearing in Alexandria Criminal Court and arranged behind closed doors in the absence of journalists and relatives of Bilal, the court cancelled Shenawy’s jail sentence. 

Frustrations over Egyptian police brutality and torture helped ignite the mass uprising that started less than a month after the church bombing which followed the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-years of rule.

In recent weeks, police brutality has ignited more protests with doctors protesting over an incident in which they accused police of torturing medical professionals at a Cairo hospital.

In the last weeks, the torture and death of an Italian student in Egypt pushed academics and rights groups to request that investigators investigate the possibility that he was detained.

Egyptian Interior Ministry rejected allegations by human rights groups that police brutality is endemic and also says it would probe into isolated cases. 

TRTWorld, Reuters