CAIRO: The spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior Hani Abdel Latif condemned Sunday the death of protester Shaimaa al-Sabbaugh calling it “heavy loss” and slammed earlier accusations against any side.
“Only two tear gas bombs were used yesterday to disperse the gathering after flares were shot, and the situation did not need more than that,” he told ONTV in a phone call.
The dispersal of the protest with Sabbaugh was captured in images by Youm7, and she is seen collapsed in front of a man carrying a rifle, who appears to be a member of security forces. The forensic report announced that she was killed by birdshot in her back from a range of between 3 and 8 meters.
Abdel Latif reiterated to The Cairo Post that only tear gas was used by security forces to disperse the marchers.
“[I]t is a fatal mistake to direct an accusation to any of the parties now,” added Abdel Latif to ONTV.
He noted that the ministry has received continuous threats and he urged citizens to avoid gatherings.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi condemned “excessive violence” by security forces in the face of a “peaceful march,” and blamed the Interior Ministry for her death, he wrote on his Facebook page.
Following the incident, a media official at the Ministry of Interior told Youm7 Saturday that the death was reported after about 50 gathered in downtown and shot flares, birdshots and fireworks.
Six people at the scene were reportedly arrested on grounds of “suspicious activity” amid a reported state of back and forth when forces were trying to disperse the gathering. Since the November 2013 entry into force of the Protest Law, it has been illegal for for any demonstration, even peaceful, to take place without prior approval from security forces.
Sabbaugh was taking part in a Saturday demonstration in Talaat Harb St. in downtown by Popular Alliance Party (PAP) to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, when she was shot dead.
Her death was captured by Youm7 in pictures, in which she appeared bleeding and was carried by a man trying to rescue her.
Man tries to help Sabbaugh after shooting
Attorney General Hisham Barakat ordered to open a “quick investigation” into her death, and the police personnel who participated in dispersing the demonstration will be investigated.
In the same decision, all information about the names of the dispersing forces to the kind of weapons used will not be disclosed.
The prosecution assured “commitment to firmly enforce the law on the perpetrator whoever he was, and urged those who have information about the accident to immediately submit it.”
Sabbaugh’s family and friends participated in her funeral in Alexandria Sunday.
Sabbaugh’s funeral in Alexandria
Additional reporting by Ahmed Metwally, Omneya Gamal and Kareem Sobhy