March 4, 2015 / 12:17 PM / in 2 years

Egypt upholds police sentence over death that stirred Mubarak revolt

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court upheld a 10-year prison sentence on Wednesday imposed on two policemen for torturing an activist to death in 2010, judicial sources said, an incident that helped trigger the uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Witnesses and rights groups said 28-year-old Khaled Said died after police beat him outside an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Activists launched an online campaign against police brutality that, alongside other strikes, meetings and rallies, morphed into nationwide marches calling for the dissolution of parliament and the disbanding of the state security agency.

The policemen were sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011, but a court canceled the ruling after an appeal and ordered a retrial. They were sentenced again to 10 years in March last year, an order that the cassation court finalised on Wednesday following an appeal.

Rights groups accused the police of widespread torture during Mubarak's rule.

Activists say security forces have committed further abuses since the army ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 following mass protests against his troubled year in office. Authorities deny the accusations.

Said's sister, Zahraa, said she was not satisfied with the sentence.

"When people are jailed for five or ten years for protesting and ten years for beating someone to death, this does not deserve to be called justice," she told Reuters by phone.

A law banning protests without a police permit has seen scores of people arrested in recent months, including many leading lights of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.

Prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was sentenced to five years in jail last month for violating the limits on protests.

Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Andrew Heavens

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