World Bulletin/News Desk
Two Egyptian policemen were sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for torturing an activist to death in 2010 in an incident that became one of the triggers for the uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Witnesses and rights groups said that 28-year-old Khaled Said died after police dragged him out of an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and beat him to death.
Before he died, Said posted an Internet video purportedly showing two policemen sharing the spoils of a drug bust.
His death galvanised anger, in particular through the Facebook page "We are all Khaled Said" that focused attention on the rights violations by the police that many said were commonplace at the time.
That campaign, tapping into a tech-savvy but disillusioned youth, plus a myriad other strikes, groupings and protests, morphed into nationwide marches calling for the dissolution of parliament and disbanding of the state security agency.
Government autopsies carried out before the 2011 uprising found that Said had choked on a plastic roll of drugs and his injuries were not the cause of his death.
The two policemen were sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011, but a court cancelled the ruling after an appeal and ordered a retrial. On Monday, they were sentenced to 10 years.
"We wanted the death penalty... 10 years is too little," Said's sister Zahra told Reuters.
"Still this is a victory for the January 25 revolution because the symbol that they tried to tarnish turned out to be innocent," she added referring to the revolt against Mubarak.
Under Mubarak, human rights groups accused the police of widespread torture.
Activists say security forces are again abusing power since the army ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.
Authorities deny the accusations and say they are committed to democracy as Egypt moves towards presidential and parliamentary elections expected in a few months.
Two Egypt policemen killed
Meanwhile, two policemen were killed and a third was injured on Monday in a series of attacks targeting Egyptian security personnel, a security source said.
Police Sergeant Hassan Sayed was shot in the head by unidentified militants driving a motorbike in the central Beni Sueif province, killing him instantly, the source said.
A low-ranking policeman was also killed by a shot to the head outside a government headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, the source said, adding that the two attackers had both managed to flee the scene.
Two armed gunmen on a motorbike also shot and injured a non-commissioned police officer in the town of Al-Saff in the Giza province adjacent to Cairo.
He was brought to hospital in critical condition after sustaining wounds to the face, the source said.
No group has claimed responsibility for Monday's shootings, the latest in a series of attacks on security personnel that have remained ongoing since the army ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi last July.
Last Mod: 03 Mart 2014, 15:31