Five Giza policemen sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing protesters

Giza Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced five policemen each to 10 years in prison for their role in killing protesters during the 25 January uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

The sentence is the most serious one handed down to members of the police since a low-ranking officer was given the death penalty in absentia on the charge of killing protesters. That verdict was later overturned after he turned himself in from hiding.

Two more policemen were sentenced on Tuesday to one-year suspended sentences, while 10 others were acquitted, all from the same charges of killing protesters.

Over the course of the proceedings, the court heard testimony from witnesses and watched documentation of the attacks.

The defense had argued that charges brought against the policemen were intended to appease public opinion following the revolution. They said that criminals, not protesters, attacked and looted police stations.

The defense also dismissed the testimonies were unreliable hearsay. The medical examiner’s reports said the victims had been shot with shotgun cartridges, but the police officers were equipped with pistols, the defense also argued.

About 850 Egyptians were killed in the revolt as police fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas at protesters. As the demonstrations went on, police eventually abandoned the streets and the military took up positions to maintain security.

Mubarak, along with former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six senior security officials, stand accused of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters during the 18-day uprising.

The final verdict in that trial is set to be delivered on 2 June.

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