No Justice For Khaled Said: Lenient Sentences For Police

Two Egyptian policemen have been convicted in the killing of 28-year-old Khaled Said whose death in June of 2010 became a rallying cry for pro-democracy activists and, even more, for  the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak on February 18. Indeed, Said’s death has been compared to the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, the fruitseller whose death led to the Tunisian revolution, the catalyst for the Arab Spring protests.

After being detained by plainclothes policemen in an internet café, Said died under questionable circumstances in the Sidi Gaber section of Alexandria. Photos of his mutilated body showing a fractured skull, a broken jaw and numerous other signs of trauma were circulated on the Internet.  Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim created a Facebook page, “We are all Khaled Said,” which soon had hundreds and thousands of followers.

The two policemen have been given sentences of seven years on charges of manslaughter instead of the more serious charges of murder. They claim that Said choked to death on a packet of drugs that he had swallowed as he approached them, but recent forensic reports have shown that the packet was forced into his mouth. Before he died, Said had posted a video on the internet that allegedly showed two policemen sharing the spoils of a drug bust.

Lawyers representing Said had expected the judge to charge the two policemen with murder:

In the courtroom, families of the two policemen shouted angrily at the judge over the guilty verdict, while activists and Said’s family complained the two police had gotten off lightly.

“Inside the court, the military police locked the doors of the court and the families of the two defendants literally beat up four lawyers [representing Said] in protest. Justice has not been done to Khaled Said and we will not budge,” Said’s uncle Ali Qassem told Reuters.

“The response to the verdict will be on the street and not inside the court,” he added.

Mahmoud Afifi, a spokesman for the April 6 Youth movement which played in an important role in the uprising, said that the verdict “allows for this sort of thing to happen again because it is not a deterrent, and it is not acceptable to us and to the entire Egyptian society.”  Indeed, the verdict on charges of manslaughter casts further question about where the loyalties of Egypt’s current interim government, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), lie.

Activists are condemning the verdict and Said ‘s family says that justice has been “aborted.” Saying that her son is “still unhappy,” Said’s mother, Laila Marzouk, said:

“I thought that they would be executed. I am shocked that they only got seven years. How can they brutally kill my son and get only seven years? Seven years is a sentence political activists get, how can a murderer receive the same sentence?”

Human rights activist and lawyer Hafiz Abu Seada has posted on Twitter that he is preparing a legal memo to appeal the sentence and to “change the charge from manslaughter to death by torture based on the anti-torture treaties to which Egypt is a signatory.”


Related Care2 Coverage

Egyptian Blogger on Hunger Strike, Saudi Blogger Detained (Video)

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Egyptian Generals Deny Using Force Against Protesters (video)


Photo of Said's mother Laila Marzouk visiting his grave by yamaha_gangsta


Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

This is probably a lot more than the Copts murdered by the police & hostile Islamists will ever get - if they are ever brought to trial.

Christine Stewart
Christine S6 years ago

It's sad when the police are more dangerous than criminals...

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle6 years ago

This is one way the world is the same all over.

I hope they don't take this to the streets. Granted the US justice system is rigged but we have live with our decision as citizens to respect the system and if we disagree we try to change the system. I offer them words spoken by Gandhi. There were a lot of causes he was willing to die for but note he was willing to kill for. More death will not bring justice.

Ernest R.
Ernest R6 years ago

As they used to say; Who do you call when the police are beating you up ?

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn6 years ago

Nations that cannot answer their dissidents in civil fashion are due for a change of government. This is true worldwide.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Yeah that sounds about right. The police get a slap on the wrist and poor Khaled gets no justice. He was brutally murdered and for what? For speaking his mind and exercising free speech which is a basic human right. Sadly, it's not a right in many countries, particularly those controlled by dictatorial, autocratic regimes. It's true that “We are all Khaled Said" since this could happen to any one of us (and looks like in might if police get more brutal with the occupy Wall Street protestors). Police are known for being corrupt all over, though they are supposed to serve and protect the people, but who protects the people from them?