CAIRO: Popular Alliance Party Vice President Zohdy al-Shamy dismissed as “ridiculous” accusations that he was responsible for the murder of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh in the lead-up to the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution Wednesday.
He added in a phone call to Dream2 television channel Wednesday night he was investigated by the prosecution for two days following her death, and he had “nothing to do with” her murder.
Sabbagh was fatally shot in the back by birdshot as she participated in a protest Jan. 24 heading to Tahrir Square that was dispersed. A video of the dispersal later went viral on social media.
Some of the The Popular Alliance Party members accused the Interior Ministry in her death, while others suggested Shamy was responsible, especially that he was directly behind her when she was killed. Images captured by Youm7 during the dispersal show Shaimaa kneeling on the pavement after being shot, and a security officer carrying a rifle can also be seen behind her.
The Interior Ministry denied in several statements giving orders to kill Sabbagh, assuring that if any member of the security forces were responsible for her death, he would be tried, adding that it was “too early” to make specific allegations.
A report issued by the National Community for Human Rights and Law (NCHRL) on Sabbagh’s death stated that police personnel should consider “rules of proportionality and necessity” in using force against civilians “especially when they practice their right to gathering and protest.” The report added that policemen are allowed by law to use force only when they are defending both “themselves and installations,” and “the assault [on the policemen] should be proved by authorities.”
The 2013 protest law criminalizes any political gathering held without prior authorization from security forces, and allows the police to disperse them with force. Since the law entered into force, there have been numerous clashes between security forces and protesters, who believe demonstrating is a right guaranteed in the constitution.