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Egyptian court acquits police in protesters' deaths

Published May 17, 2012 12:23 pm

Acquittal • Activists call it a pattern of failing to bring to account those responsible for the deaths.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cairo • An Egyptian court on Thursday found 14 policemen not guilty in the killing of protesters during last year's popular uprising, the latest verdict in what activists claim to be a pattern of acquittals for police blamed for the deaths of hundreds of people during the revolt.

The men are among nearly 200 security officers and former regime officials — including former President Hosni Mubarak himself — who face trial for the deaths of nearly 850 protesters during the revolt. A verdict in Mubarak's case is expected next month.

Many in Egypt accuse authorities of failing to bring to account those responsible for the deaths, and the cause of the "martyrs" has been a rallying crying by protesters who say that Egypt's new leaders are dragging their feet in meting out justice against responsible for the deaths. They accuse the authorities have of being reluctant to punish the culprits.

On Thursday, a Cairo Criminal Court acquitted the 14 policemen of charges of shooting protesters in front of police stations on Jan. 28, 2011, one of the most violent days of the uprising.

The ruling marked the end of the tenth court case dealing with the deaths of protesters. In nine instances, the security officers have been acquitted, while in one case the court issued a suspended sentence.

Most of the investigations into the killings was carried out in the chaotic days after Mubarak's fall by the same authorities who have been blamed for the violence.