Retrial begins for police officers accused of torture

The Alexandria Criminal Court held the first session Tuesday in the retrial of five state security officers accused of torturing Sayed Bilal to death in January 2011.

The court postponed the case to 20 December after hearing the prosecutor’s argument.

West Alexandria Prosecutions head Mohamed Taha accused the defendants of premeditated murder. He said that they beat Bilal, a 31-year-old Salafi, to death on 5 January 2011 during interrogations over the New Year’s Eve Two Saint’s Church bombing, in which 23 Coptic Christians were killed.

The crime is especially serious, Taha argued, because security officers are sworn to protect the lives of citizens.

In June, the court convicted five policemen from the now-dissolved State Security Investigation Services of killing Bilal. The court sentenced four officers, who were tried in absentia, to 25 years in prison and a fifth who was present for the sentencing, Major General Abdel Rahman al-Shimy, to 15.

Police arrested Bilal at his home at dawn on 5 January 2011, allegedly subjected him to torture, and then brought his body home to his family a day later.

The forensic report said he died from his injuries, specifically a head injury that led to a brain bleed.

Edited translation from MENA

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