CAIRO — A court convicted two police officers on Monday in the 2010 brutal beating death of a young Egyptian that became a rallying cry for the protesters who overthrew longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Rights groups however said the years-long wait before anyone was held accountable for the killing of 28-year-old small businessman Khaled Said in the port city of Alexandria highlights that the wider problem of police abuse, a major grievance of the 2011 protesters, remains unresolved.
Photographs of the dead Said’s face, disfigured by what appeared to be a brutal beating, were posted on the Internet and became a rallying cry against torture and other police brutality under Mubarak.
Activists used a Facebook page set up in Said’s memory to call for the protests that ultimately forced Mubarak from power in February 2011.
Authorities long denied that Said was killed, with successive forensic reports and official statements claiming the 28-year old man had choked on a packet of drugs he swallowed to hide them from the policemen.
The two low-ranking policemen — Awad Suliman and Mahmoud Salah — had previously been convicted and handed sentences of seven years but that conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered.
Said’s sister Zahraa said her brother was finally vindicated after the Alexandria court confirmed he died under torture and not from suffocation from swallowing drugs.
She said she would sue officials who accused her brother of being a drug addict.