Today, a year after Khaled Said’s murder and six months after the revolution that it helped spark, the two police officers found responsible for Said’s death were sentenced to seven years in prison by an Alexandria court.
Said’s family and their supporters were outraged by the verdict, claiming that the officers were let off easy for the heinous crime that contributed to mass protests across Egypt in January and February this year. A group of protesters marched through Cairo chanting in opposition to the governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF); they claimed that the mild sentence for such a harsh crime was the same as that received by some peaceful protesters tried in the much-hated military courts. One protester said, “We’ve been feeling for a long time that our revolution is being hijacked, and now that the verdict in Khaled Said’s case confirmed our fears, this will not pass easily.”
Said’s case also serves to partially represent the significance of the trials for the hundreds of people who were killed during clashes among anti-Mubarak demonstrators, Mubarak supporters, and state security forces during the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution. Amnesty International explained that there is a widespread belief among Egyptians that the SCAF is not doing enough to deliver justice, noting that “this belief is exacerbated by the slowness with which the authorities are handling trials of police officers accused of killing protesters during the uprising, when more than 800 died, and the fact that many of those facing trial have not been suspended from active duty and remain in positions where they can intimidate witnesses and subvert justice.”