An Egyptian criminal court handed down the first protest-connected death sentence Monday to a Cairo police officer charged with killing protesters involved in the revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.
As CNN is reporting:
The court sentenced Mohammed Mahmud Abdul Mun'em in absentia for killing 20 protesters and wounding 15 on Jan. 28 -- one of the pivotal days of the revolution that saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets and Egyptian troops replace police who had been battling demonstrators.
The court found Mun'em had randomly fired at demonstrators, Nile TV said. Authorities have been unable to locate Mun'em, and it was not immediately known what evidence the court used to convict the police officer.
Still, the sentencing was not without its critics. "The sentence is the most severe penalty to date levied against those accused of killing and torturing protesters during the demonstrations that led to the stepping down of President Mubarak, still detained by Egyptian authorities in connection with ordering the deaths of protesters during the revolution," writer Anissa Haddadi notes in the International Business Times. "It seems that by sentencing so severely a man accused of killing the protesters, the transitional government wants to convince the Egyptian public that crimes committed against them will be from now on highly condemned."
Earlier this month, Amnesty International estimated that at least 840 people were killed and more than 6,000 wounded during the 18-day protests which led to Mubarak's Feb. 11 resignation, and Amnesty officials said they had found evidence that Egyptian security forces used excessive force against protesters.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, Egypt's former Interior Minister Habib Adly was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. Adly also faces a separate trial for his alleged role in ordering the killings of protesters.