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A Cop Had His Conviction Overturned For Killing An Egyptian Protester

The death of Shaimaa Sabbagh in January 2015 caused outrage around the world.

Posted on February 14, 2016, at 11:19 a.m. ET

Al Youm Al Saabi / Reuters

Egypt's top court on Sunday overturned the conviction of a police officer jailed for manslaughter over the death of a left-wing protester shot dead during a demonstration in January 2015.

Socialist Popular Alliance Party activist Shaimaa Sabbagh was killed when she was struck by birdshot as police broke up a demonstration to mark the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. She had been marching to lay flowers and wreaths at Tahrir Square, the focal point of the anti-Mubarak revolution.

Photographs of Sabbagh's death were widely shared and caused outrage both internationally and within Egypt.

Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Authorities initially denied any role in Sabbagh's death, but months later Egypt's public prosector took the rare move of charging a member of the security forces.

Yassin Hatem Salah Eddin was sentenced in June to 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

But on Sunday, Egypt's top Court of Cassation annulled the sentence and ordered a new trial be held, according to the state-run MENA news agency.

The officer's defense attorney had argued the protesters had gathered in defiance of a law that banned street demonstrations, and caused a scene of confusion.

Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

A small group of protesters gathered on a bridge in Cairo on Sunday to protest against the decision, according to photos captured by a Reuters photographer.

The demonstrators held signs of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim that featured the word "killer" written over a splatter of blood.

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