Forensic Medicine spokesperson Hisham Abdel Hamid told Al-Watannewspaper that he had said from the beginning that it was the police who killed Shaima al-Sabbagh, adding that the police forces do use birdshot.
I did not find this statement in any publication following the incident. Instead, newspapers quoted him as saying that this type of birdshot is used by the police and by civilians, which makes it impossible to confirm who killed Shaima. In other words, the opposite of what he said now.
Still, this crime remains heinous. I will explain later what I mean by the word “crime”: Shaima’s murder, her crime of going out in a memorial march or the crime of her dying intentionally in order to tarnish the reputation of the government and the security forces who protect our squares from flowers.
I will wait for two months before I explain what I mean, depending on the circumstances. However, everything seems to indicate that the officer accused of the killing will be investigated.
We must commend the legal craftiness of the charge levelled against the officer: “beating to death.”
Interpreting this “creative” wording, we can only consider one of the three possibilities:
One: Shaima was killed with a “shotgun” and not a “gunshot.” In other words, the officer may have beaten her with the shotgun and killed her unintentionally.
Two (more realistic): the officer slipped and fell over her, hitting her accidentally with his shotgun.
Three: the shotgun itself escaped from the officer’s hand and beat Shaima to death. And if you rule out this possibility, I will tell you: well, God can do anything!
The Forensic Medicine spokesperson said in a televised interview this week that the reason Shaima died was because she was skinny, as birdshot is not lethal if shot from a long distance. In other words, weight and distance are the most important factors when it comes to murder.
Perhaps we should print a manual explaining weights vis-a-vis distances for protesters to study before they hold marches so that they are not killed by mistake. Here, we may need young volunteers to shoot with birdshot from different distances in order to get accurate results.
A manual like this would definitely improve the performance of the police, so that incidents like this do not happen again. I do not mean so that no more killing happens. I mean: so that no more confusing interpretations of the killing can occur.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm