Court acquits last officer accused of fatal torture of detainee
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CAIRO: National security Officer Hossam el-Shennawy was acquitted Tuesday of torturing a detainee in order to extract a confession in 2011, Youm7 reported.

Shennawy was the last of some five officers who were all cleared of the charges relating to the death by torture of Salafist Sayed Belal.

Appeals by at least three of the officers against their 15-year jail term were accepted, and overturned later by Alexandria Criminal Court.

Officers Mohamed el-Shemy was sentenced to the same prison term in April 2013, released in June 2014 after he completed after he completed the maximum time for provisional detention. Shemy was acquitted of all charges in May 2015. Another officer, Osama el-Konayessy was also acquitted of the same charges, after he requested a retrial.

Belal had been accused by the former State Security Apparatus of involvement in the New Year bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria in 2011, which killed more than 20. The bombing took place days before mass revolts took to the streets on Jan. 25 aggravated by different injustices including police violence.

Few cases in which police personnel were accused of violence against civilians have made the cut to court, and an even smaller number end with convictions.

On Sunday, Egypt’s highest Appeal Court cancelled a 15-yr prison term against an officer accused of shooting dead activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh in 2015, and ordered him a retrial.

Victims of abuse face an uphill battle to prove the crime in case an officer is accused. In cases of torture in detention, the Interior Ministry commonly reiterates denial to “systematic abuses” and calls the violence, if successfully proved, as individual mistakes.

Two policemen were given five year jail terms in December 2015 over beating to death Lawyer Karim Hamdy in custody; Hamdy’s case had caused uproar as Lawyers’ Syndicate mounted protests against police violence.

On Dec.11, the Damanhour criminal court sentenced a police officer to five years in jail for the fatal torture of inmate in Rashid police station in May. Meanwhile, five low-ranking officers were jailed pending investigation on charges of torturing another inmate to death at the Luxor police station.

Nine policemen were released although accused of assaulting doctors at Matariya Teaching Hospital last month; the release was followed by protests by thousands of doctors, who demanded the dismissal of Health Ministry over inaction in protecting them.

Additional reporting by Hanaa Abul el-Ezz from Alexandria

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