Alexandria court adjourns trial for Salafi man’s murder

Alexandria Criminal Court adjourned on Monday the case of the murder of Sayed Bilal until 14 April to hear the defense and the civil claimants.

The representative of the prosecution said the Interior Ministry is unable to summon the other four defendants in the case, who are being tried in absentia.

During the hearing, Bilal’s inmates who shared a cell with him cried when they described the torture he was subjected to.

Police arrested Bilal in his home at dawn on 5 January 2011 and returned his dead body to his family the following day. Bilal’s family, who followed the Salafi interpretation of Islam, has accused security authorities of torturing Bilal to death during interrogations at a police station.

Police authorities had said Bilal was involved in the bombing of an Alexandria church on New Year’s Eve in 2010, which killed 23 and injured dozens.

Last October, the Alexandria public prosecutor referred five National Security Agency officers to criminal prosecution on charges of torturing Bilal to death.

According to the state-run MENA news agency, the public prosecutor has accused the defendants of arresting Bilal for no reason and then torturing and murdering him, in addition to torturing others.

Four of the accused police officers are being tried in absentia as their whereabouts remain unknown. Only one, Mohamed al-Shaimy, is currently in custody.

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