Egyptian protester killed, as police officers acquitted in torture trial

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Published Thursday, November 28, 2013

One protester was killed in clashes between supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi and security forces at Cairo University on Thursday, medical sources said.

Meanwhile, a court acquitted on Thursday three police officers on charges of torturing five Islamist militants who were in their custody during the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak, judicial sources said.

The officers were accused of giving electric shocks to the militants, depriving them of food and beating them during their interrogations.

It is unclear whether the five militants are still in jail or have since been freed.

The assembly drafting a new constitution will announce the completion of the draft late on Thursday, its spokesman said.

"The head of the committee will announce the completion of the articles of the constitution and the end of the committee's mission later today," Mohammed Salmawy said in a televised news conference.

The constitution will be put to a popular referendum.

The announcement comes a day after a court in Egypt's second city of Alexandria sentenced 14 women it said belonged to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood to 11 years in jail, and another seven minor girls to a juvenile detention center.

The women and girls were accused of participating in a violent protest in October.

Gehad Gamal, an insurance agency employee, said the court's judgment revived memories of Mubarak, who was overthrown in a 2011 uprising.

"Those sentences took us back to Mubarak's era, with restrictions on political rights," she said, adding that she too had opposed Mursi.

The women’s sentencing is the latest in an ongoing government crackdown against supporters of Mursi since the army toppled him on July 3.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the crackdown and during clashes between pro- and anti-Mursi groups, while thousands have been arrested, mostly Islamists, in the often deadly crackdown.

Mursi was voted into office in the country's first free election following Mubarak's ouster in a popular uprising in January 2011.

Egypt's army-backed government passed a law on Sunday that restricts demonstrations, a move which has been met with protestations from all sides of the Egyptian political spectrum.

The government has not commented on the women’s prison terms, and said it would not reconsider the protest law for now and plans to implement it to the letter, a cabinet official told AFP.

But the increasing backlash may strain the unlikely coalition of security hawks and liberal democrats who the military appointed to lead the country ahead of elections next year, and could also provoke the very unrest the law is aimed at quelling.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


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